Survival Rates for Ovarian Cancer, by Stage

Survival rates tell you what percentage of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain length of time (usually 5 years) after they were diagnosed. These numbers can’t tell you how long you will live, but they may help give you a better understanding about how likely it is that your treatment will be successful. Some people will want to know the survival rates for their cancer type and stage, and some people won’t. If you don’t want to know, you don’t have to.

What is a 5-year survival rate?

Statistics on the outlook for a certain type and stage of cancer are often given as 5-year survival rates, but many people live longer – often much longer – than 5 years. The 5-year survival rate is the percentage of people who live at least 5 years after being diagnosed with cancer. For example, a 5-year survival rate of 90% means that an estimated 90 out of 100 people who have that cancer are still alive 5 years after being diagnosed.

Relative survival rates are a more accurate way to estimate the effect of cancer on survival. These rates compare people with cancer to people in the overall population. For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type and stage of cancer is 90%, it means that people who have that cancer are, on average, about 90% as likely as people who don’t have that cancer to live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed.

But remember, survival rates are estimates – your outlook can vary based on a number of factors specific to you.

Cancer survival rates don’t tell the whole story

Survival rates are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they can’t predict what will happen in any particular person’s case. There are a number of limitations to remember:

  • The numbers below are among the most current available. But to get 5-year survival rates, doctors look at people who were treated at least 5 years ago. As treatments are improving over time, people who are now being diagnosed with ovarian cancer may have a better outlook than these statistics show.
  • These statistics are based on the stage of the cancer when it was first diagnosed. They do not apply to cancers that come back later or spread, for example.
  • Besides the cancer stage, many other factors can affect a person's outlook, such as age and overall health, and how well the cancer responds to treatment.

Your doctor can tell you how these numbers may apply to you, as he or she is familiar with the aspects of your particular situation.

For all types of ovarian cancer, the 5-year relative survival is 47%. Women diagnosed when they are younger than 65 do better than older women. If ovarian cancer is found (and treated) before the cancer has spread outside the ovary (stages IA and IB), the 5-year relative survival rate is 92%. However, only 15% of all ovarian cancers are found at this early stage.

The survival rates given below are for the different types of ovarian cancer. They come from the National Cancer Institute, SEER Data Base and are based on patients diagnosed from 2007 to 2013. These numbers are based on a previous version of the staging system (6th edition of the American Joint Committee on Cancer), which had different stages.

Invasive epithelial ovarian cancer

Stage

Relative 5-Year Survival Rate

I

78%

IA

93%

IB

91%

IC

84%

II

61%

IIA

82%

IIB

72%

IIC 67%

III

28%

IIIA

63%

IIIB

53%

IIIC

41%

IV

19%

Ovarian stromal tumors

Stage

Relative 5-yr Survival Rate

I

99%

II

79%

III

63%

IV

36%

Germ cell tumors of the ovary

Stage

Relative 5-yr Survival Rate

I

98%

II

90%

III

87%

IV

64%

Fallopian tube carcinoma

Stage

Relative 5-yr Survival Rate

I

93%

II

87%

III

50%

IV

30%

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2018. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2018.

Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, et al. (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2014, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, www.seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2014/, based on November 2016 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER website April 2017 (all ovarian cancers); SEER 18 Registries, National Cancer Institute, 2017 (subtypes).

 

Last Medical Review: April 11, 2018 Last Revised: April 11, 2018

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