Ovarian Cancer: General Information

Ovarian Cancer

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What is Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian cancer develops in the ovary and can spread to other parts of the body. Many people currently use “ovarian cancer” as an umbrella term to include not only ovarian cancer but also fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal cancer. Ovarian cancer is the ninth most common cancer in women. Of all the cancers affecting women, ovarian cancer is the fifth most deadly. It is estimated that 22,240 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, and 14,070 will die from this disease.

Ovarian cancer is usually not inherited. However, up to 24 percent of cases may be related to inheriting a genetic mutation, even if the family history does not include ovarian or breast cancer. For that reason, it is critical for a woman to have a discussion with her health care team about her genetic predisposition to ovarian and other types of cancers at the time of diagnosis. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends that all women with ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer undergo genetic counseling and consider genetic testing.

Photo courtesy of the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio