Ovarian Cancer Facts & Figures in Brief

Ovarian Cancer Still Causes More Deaths Than Any Other Gynecologic Cancer 

Each year, the American Cancer Society’s Surveillance Research team analyzes data on cancer in the United States, including ovarian cancers, as part of its Cancer Facts & Figures report. The process is led by Rebecca Siegel, MPH. Here are some key findings from the 2021 report.

  • Women with a higher risk of ovarian cancer include those with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, as well as those who have an inherited BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation or Lynch syndrome. Other risk factors are a personal history of breast cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, excess body weight, hormone therapy use after menopause, and cigarette smoking.
  • Ovarian cancer is responsible for more cancer deaths than any other gynecologic cancer.

Siegel and her team estimate that, in the US.:

  • About 21,410 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in 2021.
  • Most (about 90%) will be diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer, which has the fewest known risk factors and the worst prognosis. 
  • About 13,770 women will die from ovarian cancer in 2021.

To learn about ovarian cancer based on race, ethnicity, distribution across the US, and more, see the Cancer Statistics Center.


Find more statistics about ovarian cancer on the Cancer Statistics Center:

  • Estimated new cases and deaths by state
  • Graphics showing historical trends in incidence rates (1975-2017) and death rates (1930-2018) by sex
  • Recent incidence rates (2013-2017) and death rates (2014-2018) by sex, by race and ethnicity, and by state
  • Probability of developing cancer (2015-2017) and dying from cancer (2015-2017)
  • 5-year survival rates (2010-2016) by stage at diagnosis

Use the analysis tool in the drop-down menu to see any of these statistics in comparison to other types of cancer.

ACS Cancer Prevention Studies

The American Cancer Society's Population Science department includes scientists who work with our large, on-going cancer prevention studies (CPS), such as CPS-II and CPS-3. 

Spotlight on ACS Ovarian Cancer Research Publications

The American Cancer Society (ACS) employs a staff of full-time researchers and funds scientists across the United States who relentlessly search for answers to help us better understand cancer, including ovarian cancer. Here are some highlights of their work.


Researchers Study Fallopian Tube Cells from Cancer-Free Women to Learn More About the Origin of Ovarian Cancer

“We still have a lot to learn about the fallopian tube and its role in ovarian cancer development and, potentially, prevention. We used a new technology to profile the genes expressed in individual cells in the fallopian tube to identify if a specific subset of cells are the likely cells-of-origin for the most common subtype of ovarian tumors, high-grade serous epithelial cancers.

”We found a lot of heterogeneity within the epithelium of the fallopian tube, including a population of cells that share molecular features with advanced tumors, suggesting they may be the main cell precursors of high-grade serous tumors.

“Importantly, our results were consistent with another study that was recently published by the Ahmed laboratory in the UK. Our hope is that in the long-term we can use these data to develop new strategies for cancer prevention or early detection.” —Kate Lawrenson, PhD

See the highlight about Dr. Lawrenson's published study.



Researchers Try Using Teeny Nanoparticles to Deliver Drugs to Metastasized Ovarian Cancers in Mice

Researchers have explored nanoparticles as a vehicle to deliver anti-cancer drugs to solid tumors. They’re mostly injected intravenously, and they’re able to accumulate in tumors by taking advantage of the leakiness of the blood vessels surrounding the tumors. However, typically less than 1% of an injected dose reaches the tumors.

“To treat ovarian tumors growing in the abdominal space in mice, my lab team administered nanoparticles directly into this cavity and discovered that the majority of the nanoparticles ended up on the tumor’s surface because of the way they interacted with the structures that surround the tumor cells, called the extracellular matrix. We demonstrated that collagen plays a major role in facilitating this interaction.” —Xiuling Lu, PhD

See the highlight about Dr. Lu's published study.


Research and Training Grants in Ovarian Cancer

The American Cancer Society funds scientists and medical professionals who study cancer. We also fund health professional training grants for nurses, social workers, and doctors to help advance their education and experience in cancer research. 

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Total Ovarian Cancer Grants in Effect as of August 1, 2021

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Total Ovarian Cancer Grant Funding in Effect as of August 1, 2021