Ovarian Cancer Rates
Learn about ovarian cancer, the deadliest gynecologic cancer. Treatment works best when found early.
Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. Cancer is named for the part of the body where it starts, even if it spreads to other body parts later. When cancer starts in the ovaries, it is called ovarian cancer. Women have two ovaries that are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus. The ovaries make female hormones and produce eggs.
All women are at risk for ovarian cancer, but older women are more likely to get the disease than younger women. About 90% of women who get ovarian cancer are older than 40 years of age, with the greatest number aged 55 years or older. In 2006, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 19,994 women in the United States were found to have ovarian cancer, making it the second most common gynecologic cancer, after uterine (endometrial). Ovarian cancer accounts for only about 3% of all cancers in women; however, it causes more deaths than any other gynecologic cancer in the U.S.
The chart shows how many women out of 100,000 were told they had ovarian cancer (the incidence rate) and how many women out of 100,000 died from ovarian cancer (the death rate) in 2006.
White women had the highest incidence rate of ovarian cancer. Asian/Pacific Islander women had the second highest incidence of ovarian cancer, followed by black and American Indian/Alaska Native women.
White women were more likely to die of ovarian cancer than any other group. Black women had the second highest rate of deaths from ovarian cancer, followed by American Indian/Alaska Native women and Asian/Pacific Islander women.
Women of Hispanic ethnicity (which includes all races) had intermediate incidence and death rates of ovarian cancer compared to non-Hispanic women.
The rates of new ovarian cancer cases (incidence) and cancer deaths have decreased or remained level for all racial and ethnic groups.
- The incidence rate decreased 2.1% per year from 2001 to 2006 among all women.
- The death rate decreased 1.4% per year from 2002 to 2006 among all women.
National Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Campaign
In collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health, CDC established the Inside Knowledge: Get the Facts About Gynecologic Cancer campaign to increase awareness and knowledge among women and health care providers about the five major gynecologic cancers: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar.
U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2006 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2010. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/uscs.
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