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Ovarian cancer

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Survival statistics for ovarian cancer

Survival statistics for ovarian cancer are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of women, they cannot be used to predict a particular woman’s chances of survival.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain the statistics for ovarian cancer and what they mean to you.

Net survival

Net survival represents the probability of surviving cancer in the absence of other causes of death. It is used to give an estimate of the percentage of people who will survive their cancer.

In Canada, the 5-year net survival for ovarian cancer is 44%. This means that, on average, about 44% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will survive for at least 5 years.

Relative survival

Relative survival looks at how likely people with cancer are to survive after their diagnosis compared to people in the general population who do not have cancer, but who share similar characteristics (such as age and sex).

Survival by type of tumour

Survival varies with each particular type or subtype of ovarian cancer. The following factors can also affect survival for ovarian cancer:

  • Generally, the earlier ovarian cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.
  • Often ovarian cancer is not found until it is at a later stage, which can make it somewhat more difficult to treat.
  • Low-grade tumours have a more favourable prognosis than high-grade tumours.
  • Tumours in younger women have a more favourable prognosis.
  • Tumours in women with a good performance status have a more favourable prognosis.
  • Tumours that can be completely removed with surgery have a more favourable prognosis.

Epithelial ovarian cancer survival
Stage5-year relative survival

I

89%

IA

94%

IB

91%

IC

80%

II

66%

IIA

76%

IIB

67%

IIC

57%

III

34%

IIIA

45%

IIIB

39%

IIIC

35%

IV

18%

Ovarian tumour of borderline malignancy survival
Stage5-year relative survival10-year relative survival

I

99%

97%

II

98%

90%

III

96%

88%

IV

77%

69%

Ovarian germ cell tumour survival
Stage5-year relative survival

I

98%

II*

80%

III

84%

IV

55%

*The stage II survival statistic is not based on many cases, so it may not be reliable.

Ovarian stromal tumour survival

Stage5–10 year relative survival

I

>90%

II*

55%

III

25%

*The overall 20-year survival for stage II is approximately 40%.

Extra-ovarian primary peritoneal carcinoma survival

The overall 5-year survival for extra-ovarian primary peritoneal carcinoma is about 20%. However, long-term survival of more than 5 years after chemotherapy has been reported.

Questions about survival

Talk to your doctor about your prognosis. A prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • your health history
  • the type of cancer
  • the stage
  • certain characteristics of the cancer
  • the treatments chosen
  • how the cancer responds to treatment

Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

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