Ovarian Cancer Special Section of Cancer Facts & Figures Helps Policy Makers and Others

Researcher: Lindsey Torre, MSPH
Institution: American Cancer Society, Surveillance & Health Equity Science
ACS Research Program: Surveillance Research

The Challenge: Women whose ovarian cancer is diagnosed before it has spread have a 90% chance of living for at least another 5 years. But, about 4 of 5 women with ovarian cancer aren’t diagnosed until the cancer has already spread. That’s why one important research priority is aimed at improving the ability to find ovarian cancer early.

The Research: The American Cancer Society’s Surveillance & Health Equity Science produced a special report on ovarian cancer including these facts about ovarian cancer:  

  • A woman whose mother, full sibling, or child has a history of ovarian cancer has a 4 times higher risk of developing it too. A woman whose grandmother, granddaughter, aunt, niece, or half-siblings has a history of ovarian cancer has a 2 times higher risk.
  • A woman whose mother, full sibling, or child has a history of breast cancer increases a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer by about 70%.
  • Almost 40% of ovarian cancer cases in women with a family history are due to mutations in the cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Why It Matters: These statistics about ovarian cancers provide policy makers, researchers, clinicians, cancer control advocates, patients, caregivers, and public health professionals with key data to know where improvements have been made and where more support is needed.