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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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  • average frequency of new patient per GP - one in every five years

  • with respect to adults aged 15+ years in England and Wales in 1992 - the total new cases was 5,384 and the number per annum per 2000 population was 0.21 (1)

  • there is a palpable pelvic mass in 90% (1)

  • generally diagnosed late

  • symptoms are generally vague - non-specific/vague abdominal symptoms

  • the outcome for women with ovarian cancer is generally poor, with an overall 5 year survival rate of less than 35% (2)

  • despite the relatively poor overall survival rates for ovarian cancer, there has been a two-fold increase in survival over the last 30 years. This has coincided with the advent of effective chemotherapy, and the introduction of platinum-based agents in particular, as well as changes in surgical practice (2)

  • the risk of development of ovarian cancer with respect to other families affected is described in the linked item

Ovarian carcinoma has a lifetime incidence of about 0.97%. This compares with carcinoma of the cervix, endometrium and breast which have lifetime incidences of 1.29%, 1.02% and 5.11% respectively. Ovarian carcinoma has a mean age of incidence of 58 years and usually occurs between the 3rd and 8th decades.


  • 1) Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancer (April 2000). NHS Executive.
  • 2) NICE (March 2011). Ovarian cancer The recognition and initial management of ovarian cancer
  • 3) Pulse (21/8/99), 30.

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