- Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in females in the UK and it is the second most common gynaecological cancer after uterus.
- In 2011, there were around 7,100 new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed in the UK, that is 19 women every day.
- Ovarian cancer becomes more common with increasing age. Three quarters of new ovarian cancer cases in the UK are diagnosed in women aged 55 and over.
- Since the mid-1970s, the incidence of ovarian cancer in females aged 15-39 has increased by 56%.
- Most ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed at a late stage.
- In Europe, around 65,600 new cases of ovarian cancer were estimated to have been diagnosed in 2012. The UK incidence rate is ninth highest in Europe.
- Worldwide, nearly 239,000 women were estimated to have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012, with incidence rates varying across the world.
Ovarian cancer statistics
New cases of ovarian cancer, 2011, UK
Deaths from ovarian cancer, 2012, UK
Survive ovarian cancer for 10 or more years, 2010-11, England and Wales
Preventable cases of ovarian cancer, UK
- Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer death in women in the UK and the most common cause of gynaecological cancer death.
- In 2012, around 4,300 women in the UK died of ovarian cancer, that's nearly 12 every day.
- Ovarian cancer mortality has decreased in women aged under 70 over the last thirty years, but has increased in women aged 70 and over.
- In Europe, around 42,700 women were estimated to have died from ovarian cancer in 2012. The UK mortality rate is 16th highest in Europe.
- Worldwide, around 152,000 women were estimated to have died from ovarian cancer in 2012, with mortality rates varying across the world.
- More than a third (35%) of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for ten years or more (2010-11).
- Almost half (46%) of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for five years or more (2010-11).
- Almost three-quarters (73%) of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for one year or more (2010-11).
- Ovarian cancer survival is highest for women diagnosed aged under 40 years old.
- Almost 9 in 10 women diagnosed aged 15-39 survive their disease for five years or more, compared with less than a fifth of women diagnosed aged 80 and over.
- Ovarian cancer survival is improving and has almost doubled in the last 40 years in the UK.
- In the 1970s, less than a fifth of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer survived their disease beyond ten years, now it's more than a third.
- When diagnosed at its earliest stage, 9 in 10 women with ovarian cancer will survive their disease for five years or more, compared with less than 5 in 100 of women when diagnosed at the latest stage.
- 21% of ovarian cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.
- A woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer depends on many factors, including age,genetics, and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors).
- Factors which reduce lifetime number of (and breaks between) ovulations and/or reduce sex hormone levels may relate to lower ovarian cancer risk.
- Oral contraceptives protect against ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding may protect against ovarian cancer – women breastfeeding each of their children for less than 6 months is linked to an estimated 18% of ovarian cancer cases in the UK.
- An estimated 21% of ovarian cancers in the UK are linked to lifestyle factors including smoking (3%), some types of hormone replacement therapy (1%), and certain occupational exposures (under 1%).
- Talcum powder use in the genital area, ionising radiation, being taller, overweight and obesity, and certain medical conditions, may relate to higher ovarian cancer risk, but evidence is unclear.
- Emergency presentation is the most common route to diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
‘Two-week wait’ standards are met by all countries, ‘31-day wait’ is met by all but Northern Ireland and Wales, and ’62-day wait’ is met by all but Wales, Northern Ireland and only partly by Scotland for gynaecological cancers.
The latest statistics available for ovarian cancer in the UK are; incidence 2011, mortality 2012 and survival 2010-2011.
Survival statistics give an overall picture of survival and (unless otherwise stated) include all adults (15-99) diagnosed, at all ages,
Stage at diagnosis data is not yet routinely available for the UK due to inconsistencies in the collecting and recording of staging data in the past.
Routes to diagnosis statistics were calculated from cases of cancer registered in England which were diagnosed in 2006-2010.
Cancer waiting times statistics are for patients who entered the health care system within financial year 2014-15. Ovarian cancer is part of the group 'Gynaecological cancer' for cancer waiting times data. Codes vary per country but broadly include: Vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, ovary, other female genital organs, placenta and secondary cancers of ovary.
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We would like to acknowledge the essential work of the cancer registries in the United Kingdom and Ireland Association of Cancer Registries, without which there would be no data.