Ovarian Cancer is the 4th most
common cause of cancer death for women.


What are Ovarian Cancers?

Ovarian Cancer is a form of cancer that begins in the ovaries. The ovaries, found exclusively in females, are responsible for maintaining the health of the reproductve system and ensuring fertility. There are several types of Ovarian Cancers that we will cover in detail. These are Common Epithelial Tumors, Germ Cell Tumors, and Stromal Tumors.

Perhaps the defining factor that makes Ovarian Cancer so dangerous is the fact that early detection of the disease is often very difficult. In fact, only about 19 percent of Ovarian cancer cases are detected before the cancer has spread beyond the point of origin, something which makes these cases substantially more difficult to treat. This is caused in part because of the small size of the ovaries - each ovary is only about the size of a grape. Additionally, the symptoms that define this cancer are non-specific to the disease and can sometimes be interpreted as being something less serious.

We will now take a closer look at each specific type of Ovarian Cancer so that we may gain an increased understanding of how they impact people on an individual basis. Below is a pie graph that details the 5-year survival rate of those that suffer from Ovarian Cancer. As you can see, Ovarian Cancer is incredible aggressive, claiming over half of all people diagnosed within this timeframe.

Those who Survived Five Years
Those who did not Survive Five Years

Common Epithelial Tumors (CETs)

Common Epithelial Tumors (sometimes called CETs) are the most frequently observed form of Ovarian Cancers, making up around 90 percent of all diagnosed cases. There exists several other ways to classify diseases of this nature, the most common of which are through the distinction of Serous and Endometrioid tumors.

Serous tumors are the most common of all Epithelial tumors, making up about 2/3 of all cases diagnosed. New research has indicated that this cancer may not even start in the ovaries, instead originating in the cells of a nearby tube. It is discoveries such as this that allow scientists to better understand the disease, and thus treat it more effectively.

Endometrioid tumors are the next most common subset of Epithelial tumors. Recent research has indicated that when factors such as age and stage of the disease are taken into consideration, 5-year survival rates are comparable to those found in Serous cancer cases. Thus, the major differences between these two diseases can be found by examining each on a molecular level. As with all forms of Ovarian Cancer, scientists agree that more research is necessary to meaningfully advance the way we treat Endometrioid Epithelial Cancer patients.

Germ Cell Tumors

Germ Cell Tumors are relatively rare within the context of Ovarian Cancer, accounting for roughly 2 percent of all newly diagnosed cases. They almost always occur in younger women, and can affect those who are still teenagers.

Germ Cell Tumors are usually relatively easy to handle if they are found early and given proper treatment. Unfortunately, the vauge nature of the symptoms makes such a task difficult to say the least. There are usually no symptoms in the early stages of the disease, and those that do emerge are things often associated with less severe conditons. Some of these symptoms include the mildly swelling of the abdomen or unusual bleeding.

Stromal Tumors

Stromal Tumors are an especially rare type of Ovarian Cancer. They develop from the cell tissue that is typically responsible for producing female hormones. One of the largest issues with Stromal Tumor treatment is the issue of recurrence, as Stromal Tumors have been known to come back years after substantial remission has occured. This means that patients can rarely consider themselves 'cured', as the threat of the cancer coming back is a persistent one.

That said, the actual severity of Stromal Tumors is typically fairly mild when compared with other forms of Ovarian Cancer. For instance, the tumors are almost always slow growing, which provides doctors and patients with ample time to generate an effective treatment program. For this reason and the fact that the tumors are typically limited to one or both Ovaries, and is thus unlikely to spread beyond the point of origin, Stromal Tumors are sometimes considered to be a low-grade cancer. This means that survival and recovery outlooks are positive for patients of this distinction.

Advancements in Treatment

Years gone by have revolutionized the way that we approach Ovarian Cancer treatment. In spite of this, there is still much progress still to be made before the threat of Ovarian Cancer stops persisting in people's lives. We will now highlight some of the successes that have been seen in the past few decades in an effort to promote these accomplishments and draw attention to the work that still remains to be done.

5-Year Survival Rates by Stage

What do these statistics mean?

From this data, we can see that the most important factor in terms of ensuring that Ovarian Cancer is dealt with before it becomes deadly is the early detection of the disease. Unfortunately, Ovarian Cancer is very subtle in the way it first affects people, sometimes presenting no visible symptoms in its earliest stages. In fact, only about 19 percent of Ovarian Cancer cases are detected before they begin spreading throughout the body. If we are to truly undermine the threat of this disease, advancing our understanding of how to detect Ovarian Cancer is essential.

Advancements in Understanding

Because Ovarian Cancer is so difficult to detect, grasping an increased understanding of what causes the disease the first place is all but a necessity. This allows scientists and doctors alike to develop a new standard under which to operate when approaching Ovarian Cancer treatment.

Recent research has revealed the effect that certain gene mutations have on the risk of developing Ovarian Cancer, and such information is being used to develop mathematical models to estimate how much a particular women would benefit from undergoing surgery to prevent Ovarian Cancer. This affords women the ability to make proactive choices that lead to a reduction in their personal risk for contracting Ovarian Cancer.

Progress has also been made on the front of furthering out understanding of Ovarian Cancer's risk factors. One such factor is the failure to employ oral contraceptives. In fact, women who used oral contraceptives for 5 years or more have historically seen a 50 percent reduction in the probability of contracting Ovarian Cancer. It is through the promotion of discoveries such as this that people everywhere can grasp a complete understanding of how to prevent Ovarian Cancer in the first place, something which will do much to reduce its influence overall.

Advancements in Drug Development

Recent research has done much to provide new options to doctors and patients alike through the development of life-saving drugs. Because Ovarian Cancer is so difficult to detect at an early stage, many scientists have directed their efforts instead to dealing with Ovarian Cancer in its more advanced stages. This allows the sickest of the sick to be met with new treatments that provide them with hope when previously there was none.

One such treatment comes in the form of a particularly intensive chemotherapy. It has been a revolutionary force where it was applied, with a whopping 65 percent increase in success rate among patients whose first attempt at chemotherapy failed. This is especially important because the women involved in the experiment were very limited in their options, meaning that the treatment was instrumental in opening the door to a healthier, happier life.

Also suprising was the relative lack of side effects that the women who participated in the experiment faced. This, combined with the fact that the drugs applied are readily avaliable from most major medical facilities across the globe, means that the treatment could prove to be effective in shaping the standards that currently define Ovarian Cancer treatment.

While such research is still in its infancy and thus required further refinement before it can be applied on a larger scale, it still serves as a beacon of hope in many ways, providing good news on a front where such successes is rare. As Sir Paul Nurse, director general of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund put it, "We've been waiting for good news on ovarian cancer for some time, so the results of this study are very encouraging".

How to Help

Ovarian Cancer has proven itself to be one of the most subtly dangerous diseases currently in existance. In fact, Ovarian Cancer is the 4th most common cause of cancer death for women in the United States. With knowledge centering around the disease so low, new research to improve our understanding of how to detect and sufficiently treat the disease is vital to ensure that the loss of life is mitigated. All of the options below are valuable resources with which to promote the work of those taking an active stance against Ovarian Cancer.

The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund

The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund has made it its mission to fight Ovarian Cancer on both preventative and reactionary fronts. They have completely committed themselves over the years to driving innovative research programs that enable scientists to be more proactive in their battle against Ovarian Cancers.

They specialize in three different kinds of research studies. These are the areas of basic science, translational research, and clinical research. Their varied approach to study enables the fund to approach a wide range of problems, both at the individual level and on the larger scale of general scientific advancement.

The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund has been very progressive in the allocation of funds, awarding 237 grants totaling over 65 million dollars that have changed the way researchers approach Ovarian Cancer treatment. The research projects that they fund have gone on to be published in some of the most prestigious medical journals on the planet, including the New England Journal of Science and the Clinical Cancer Research Journal. You can help them fund the next generation of Ovarian Cancer research by clicking the button below to donate.


The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

Since its founding in 1995, the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition has tirelessly pursued a means to bring an end to suffering at the hands of Ovarian Cancer. They feature a best in class leadership team that has been instrumental in guiding the foundation to be the beacon of innovation that it is today.

The Coalition has promoted and funded a great number of programs, all of which have advanced the fight against Ovarian Cancer. These programs are diverse in their application, covering everything from the promotion of knowledge regarding risk factors to securing lab time for researchers across the globe.

All of this has been maintained while ensuring a high degree of financial transparency, something which ensures that all who donate to the Coalition can rest assured that their money is being spent responsibly. You can join them in their fight by clicking the button below to donate.


Fight At No Cost

The internet has made it possible to join the fight against Ovarian Cancers without spending a single penny. This is the power of word of mouth, the power of sharing our thoughts and ideas to make a change. You can click on the buttons below to get started. Spread the word!

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