Ten Facts about Ovarian Cancer

  1. Ovarian cancer is the third most commonly detected cancer amongst Indian women. Breast and cervical cancer have made it to the top of the honors list. However, ovarian cancer is not far behind.
  2. Ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the world! A 5-year rate of survival, amongst ovarian cancer patients, worldwide, is 45%, if the cancer spreads to other organs in the stomach. If the cancer is restricted to the ovaries and fallopian tube, the overall 5-year rate of survival of patients is 92%!
  3. Estimates show that the overall 5-year survival rate for ovarian cancer, in India, is a poor 45 %. One of the main reasons for such low success rates against this cancer is the fact that diagnosis of ovarian cancer is made only during the advanced stages of the disease. 56% of the diagnoses of ovarian cancer are made only in later state III and stage IV of the cancer.
  4. Inherited gene variants of BRCA1 and BRCA2 can increase a women’s risk of developing ovarian cancer by 65% and 35 % respectively.
  5. BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the ones that are mutated in 50% of all ovarian cancers.
  6. Ovarian cancers can develop from the fallopian tubes as well.
  7. Surgical removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes, after the childbearing years are past, can help to reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancers.
  8. Ovarian and breast cancer can also be hereditary. It helps to have advance knowledge of ovarian cancer in your family.
  9. Symptoms of ovarian cancer include bloating, pressure and pain in the stomach, fatigue, feeling overly full after eating a normal meal, frequent bathroom trips, constipation, back pain and irregularities in menstruation. As you can see, these symptoms are shared with many other health issues. It would be good to get medical advice and some diagnostic check-ups if you find yourself suffering from any of these symptoms.
  10. Genetic tests are available to help you estimate your risk of developing ovarian cancer. You can read more about these tests in other articles.


  1. Choi, Y. J. et al. Intraindividual genomic heterogeneity of high-grade serous carcinoma of the ovary and clinical utility of ascitic cancer cells for mutation profiling. J. Pathol. (2016). doi:10.1002/path.4819
  2. Bhatt, A. & Glehen, O. The role of Cytoreductive Surgery and Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) in Ovarian Cancer: A Review. Indian J. Surg. Oncol. 7, 188–197 (2016).
  3. Kroeger, P. T. & Drapkin, R. Pathogenesis and heterogeneity of ovarian cancer. Curr. Opin. Obstet. Gynecol. 1 (2016). doi:10.1097/GCO.0000000000000340
  4. http://www.wcrf.org/int/cancer-facts-figures/data-specific-cancers/ovarian-cancer-statistics

(Image credits: By Cancer Research UK – Original email from CRUK, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34333727)