Ovarian cancer is cancer that begins in tissues of the ovaries. It ranks fifth as the cause of cancer death in women. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2020 there will be about 21,750 new cases of ovarian cancer in the U.S., and about 13,940 women will die because of the disease. Around half of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 63 or older. Ovarian cancer is rare in women younger than 40. It is slightly more common in white women than women of other races/ethnicities. A woman's risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 78, and her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 108.
Ovarian cancer is sometimes called "the disease that whispers" because it very often is not detected until it is in the advanced stages. Currently, there is no effective means of early detection for the disease. About 20% of cases are diagnosed in the early stages, before the cancer has spread beyond the ovary to the pelvic region. If ovarian cancer is detected and treated early, about 94% of patients live longer than 5 years after diagnosis. Several studies are in progress to learn the best ways to find ovarian cancer in its earliest stage.