Ovarian cancer incidence statistics
Ovarian cancer incidence statistics are presented here, by age and sex, geographic variation and trends over time. The ICD codes for ovarian cancer are ICD10 C56-C57.
The latest incidence statistics available for ovarian cancer in the UK are 2010. Please note that data in this section are for 2008 and that 2010 data are coming soon. Find out why more up to date statistics are not yet available.
In 2008, around 6,500 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK (Table 1.1)1-4, making it the second most common gynaecological cancer (Table 1.2) and the fifth most common cancer in women.It has been estimated that the lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer in 2008 is 1 in 54 for women in the UK. This was done using the AMP method. 19
Table 1.1: Ovarian Cancer (C56-C57), Number of New Cases, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2008
|England||Wales||Scotland||Northern Ireland||United Kingdom|
|AS Rate - 95% LCL*||15.4||17.7||16.6||15.0||15.9|
|AS Rate - 95% UCL*||16.2||21.5||19.4||20.1||16.6|
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Table 1.2: Gynaecological Cancers, Numbers of New Cases and European Age-Standardised (AS) Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2008
|Level 3 Cancer Site Code||2008|
The crude rate shows that this equates to around 21 cases for every 100,000 women. The European age-standardised rate for the UK was 16 per 100,000 women, ranging from 16 per 100,000 in England to 20 per 100,000 in Wales.
section updated 18/07/11
Ovarian cancer is predominantly a disease of older, post-menopausal women with over 80% of cases being diagnosed in women over 50 years. 1-4 There is a steep increase in incidence after the usual age of the menopause (Figure 1.1) The highest age-specific incidence rates are seen for women aged 80-84 years at diagnosis (69 per 100,000), dropping to 64 per 100,000 in women aged 85 and over. 1-4
Figure 1.1: Ovarian Cancer (C56-C57), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates, UK, 2006-2008
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section updated 18/07/11
The incidence of ovarian cancer in British women increased steadily for 25 years, with European age-standardised incidence rates increasing from 15 per 100,000 women in 1975 to around 19 per 100,000 in the late 1990s (Figure 1.2).1-4 The incidence rate has been decreasing since the early 2000s, reaching 16 per 100,000 in 2008.
Figure 1.2: Ovarian Cancer (C56-C57), European Age-Standardised Incidence and Mortality Rates, Great Britain, 1975-2008
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Trends in ovarian cancer incidence vary by age (Figure 1.3), and it can be seen that much of the early increase in incidence occurred in women aged 65 and over; between 1975 and 1999, the incidence rate for women aged 65+ rose from 43 to 68 per 100,000, an increase of more than 50%.1-4
Figure 1.3: Ovarian Cancer (C56-C57), European Age-standardised Incidence Rates, by Age, Great Britain, 1975-2008
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The decrease in incidence since the early 2000s has occurred in all age groups, but women aged 50-64 have shown the biggest decrease (from 44 per 100,000 in 2001 to 34 per 100,000 in 2008). Widespread use of the contraceptive pill, which reduces risk, is one possible explanation for the stability of rates in younger women and possibly the recent fall in the 65 and over age group (see Risk factors section). Coding changes to the classification of ovarian cancer may also affect comparisons over time and between different populations. A change in the classification of some tumours of borderline malignancy from invasive, malignant behaviour (code 3) in ICD-O-2 to uncertain behaviour (code 1) in ICD-O-3 may have contributed to a decrease in incidence since 2000.5
A study of incidence and mortality trends in 28 European countries showed similar recent declines in incidence, especially in younger women, for most countries in Northern and Western Europe (but not in the rest of Europe). Some of this variation may be explained by geographical differences in the uptake of oral contraception across Europe.6
section updated 18/07/11
Ovarian cancer incidence varies by around 40% across the four regions of Europe, with estimated European age-standardised rates ranging from 12 per 100,000 women in Southern Europe to 17 per 100,000 in Northern Europe in 2008.7 The countries with the highest incidence rates (Figure 1.4) were Latvia and Lithuania (around 19 per 100,000), and the lowest were Cyprus and Portugal (around 7 per 100,000). The UK ranked 7th out of the 27 countries in the European Union.7
Figure 1.4: Ovarian Cancer (C56), European Age-Standardised Incidence and Mortality Rates, EU-27 Countries, 2008 Estimates
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Note: ICD-10 code for ovarian cancer data for EU countries is C56 only.
There were estimated to be 225,000 new cases of ovarian cancer worldwide in 2008, accounting for around 4% of all cancers diagnosed in women.8 Incidence rates vary considerably across the world, with World age-standardised rates in more developed countries being nearly twice as high as those in less developed countries. The estimated World age-standardised incidence rate for the more developed regions of the world was 9 per 100,000 in 2008, and 5 per 100,000 for the less developed countries.8 (World age-standardised incidence rates are not comparable to the European age-standardised incidence rates presented elsewhere in this section).
The highest ovarian cancer incidence rates are recorded in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe, followed by Western Europe and the Northern America, and the lowest rates in Africa and parts of Asia. Over 65,000 cases were estimated to be diagnosed in Europe in 2008 (45,000 in the EU27) and more than 21,500 in the USA. 8,9
section updated 01/09/11
In a comprehensive study of incidence and mortality variation within the UK and Ireland, little geographical variation was reported for ovarian cancer. 10 Incidence tends to be slightly higher among women in more affluent groups than in the most deprived groups, which is not unexpected as risk factors such as low parity are more common in more affluent women. 11,18
section updated 08/03/11
80-90% of ovarian malignancies are epithelial in origin, with the most common type in the UK being serous carcinomas. 12,13,14 Other rarer subtypes include germ cell tumours, which tend to occur in pre-menopausal women and are very chemo-sensitive (and hence treatable). It is thought that most histologies share common risk factors, with the probable exception of mucinous carcinomas. 12,15
The most striking international difference occurs in Japan, which has lower rates of ovarian cancer than in Europe. 8 Some of this variation may be explained by geographical differences in histologies, since Japan has a higher percentage of clear cell adenocarcinomas (20-25%) compared with other Asian or Western countries (5-10%).16
section updated 04/11/11
Prevalence data relate to those people in the UK population who were alive on a specific date having previously been diagnosed with cancer. The latest analysis shows that on 31st December 2006, around 25,000 women were alive up to ten years after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer17. Table 1.3 shows the one, five and ten year prevalence for ovarian cancer.
section updated 30/06/10
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- Office for National Statistics, 2010 Cancer Statistics registrations: registrations of cancer diagnosed in 2008, England.
- Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Cancer Incidence in Wales, Accessed 2011
- ISD Online Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Survival data. Accessed 2011
- Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, 2011 Cancer Incidence and Mortality.
- UK Association of Cancer Registries Library of recommendations on cancer coding and classification policy and practice
- Bray F, Loos AH, Tognazzo S, Vecchia CL Ovarian cancer in Europe: Cross-sectional trends in incidence and mortality in 28 countries, 1953-2000. International Journal of Cancer 2005;113:977-90
- European age-standardised rates calculated by Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK, 2011 using data from GLOBOCAN 2008 v1.2, IARC, http://globocan.iarc.fr
- Ferlay J, Shin HR, Bray F, Forman D, Mathers C and Parkin DM. GLOBOCAN 2008 v1.2, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide. IARC Cancerbase No,10 [Internet] Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2010. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr
- Horner MJ RL, Krapcho M et al (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review 1975-2006. 2010.
- Quinn M WH, Cooper N, Rowan S (eds). Cancer Atlas of the United Kingdom and Ireland 1991-2000. Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
- NCIN Cancer incidence by deprivation England 1995-2004 2008
- Granstrom C, Sundquist J, Hemminki K. Population attributable fractions for ovarian cancer in Swedish women by morphological type Br J Cancer 2008;98:199-205.
- DeVita VT, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA (eds). Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology (8th edition) Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2008.
- McCluggage WG My approach to and thoughts on the typing of ovarian carcinomas. Journal of Clinical Pathology 2008;61:152-63.
- Purdie DM, Webb PM, Siskind V, Bain CJ, Green AC The different etiologies of mucinous and nonmucinous epithelial ovarian cancers. Gynecol Oncol 2003;88:S145-8.
- Ushijima K. Current status of gynecologic cancer in Japan J Gynecol Oncol 2009;20:67-71.
- National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) One, Five and Ten-Year Cancer Prevalence June 2010
- Cooper N, Quinn MJ, Rachet B, Mitry E, Coleman MP. Survival from cancer of the ovary in England and Wales up to 2001. Br J Cancer 2008;99 Suppl 1:S70-2
- Sasieni PD, Shelton J, Ormiston-Smith NJ, Thomson CS, Silcocks PB. What is the lifetime risk of developing cancer?: The effect of adjusting for multiple primaries. [submitted] 2011