Ovarian cancer originates in the ovaries. The ovaries, located on each side of the uterus, are the pair of reproductive organs that produce eggs and are the main source of the primary female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. In 2015, the American Cancer Society estimated that 21,290 new cases of ovarian cancer would be diagnosed in the U.S. and 14,180 deaths would result. Ovarian cancer is the ninth most common cancer in women and is the most lethal of the gynecologic malignancies.
Role of the Gynecologic Oncologist
Gynecologic oncologists are trained in the comprehensive management of gynecologic cancer. As such, they coordinate care for women with ovarian cancer from diagnosis, to surgery, to chemotherapy, through survivorship and palliative care at the end of life. They serve as captain of the entire cancer care team of medical oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and genetic counselors, among others. Seek a specialist near you.
Patients, Caregivers and Survivors
As part of the overview section on ovarian cancer, learn general information, including risk factors and symptoms, and what to do if your doctor suspects you or your loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. SGO has a useful toolkit for ovarian cancer survivors, as well as a video and companion PDF booklet as a patient resource.
More information on ovarian cancer is available on the SGO genetics page. Both the SGO and the Society’s Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC) have endorsed the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for ovarian cancer patients. Additional resources have been developed to explain gynecologic cancer clinical trials and the phases involved.
Clinical Practice Guidelines
- Committee Opinion: Cascade Testing: Testing Women for Known Hereditary Genetic Mutations Associated With Cancer (ACOG, January 2018)
- Neoadjuvant chemotherapy for newly diagnosed, advanced ovarian cancer: Society of Gynecologic Oncology and American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline (August 2016)
- The Role of the Generalist Obstetrician–Gynecologist in the Early Detection of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer (ACOG/SGO, March 2011)
- Validation of Referral Guidelines for Women With Pelvic Masses (SGO/ACOG, January 2005)
SGO Position Statements
- OCEANS Study Results: A Phase III, Multicenter, Randomized Blinded, Placebo-controlled Trial of Carboplatin and Gemcitabine plus Bevacizumab in Patients with Platinum-sensitive Recurrent Ovary, Primary Peritoneal or Fallopian Tube Carcinoma (SGO, June 2011)
- ‘PreOvar’ Ovarian Cancer Risk Assessment Test (September 2010)
- Use of CA125 in Screening for Ovarian Cancer (June 2010)
In October 2013 Choosing Wisely®, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation, released SGO’s Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question with specific tests or procedures that are commonly ordered but not always necessary in gynecologic oncology. SGO’s Choosing Wisely now has a number of patient resources and is mentioned in various online reference materials related to gynecologic oncology.
Photo courtesy of the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio