Understanding The Prognosis For Ovarian Cancer

By Alley Benton
Updated January 27, 2016
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Understanding The Prognosis For Ovarian CancerOvarian cancer is difficult to catch during its early stages, which also makes it difficult to treat. While surgery and chemotherapy can be successful to eradicate the disease in many patients, others will be unable to do so and may resort to palliative care to reduce symptoms and alleviate pain.

The prognosis for ovarian cancer depends on a number of factors including how old you are, the stage of the disease, and how much it has spread to other organs and tissues throughout your body. These survival rates are calculated over a period of 5 years, rather than as a lifetime. This is because, even when ovarian cancer is destroyed, there is always a chance that the disease could return.

The survival rates are determined using data from previous cases. This is collected and then followed up on to find accurate information, and compare it to current cases.

Life Expectancy:

The type of tumor plays a big role in risk assessment and life expectancy. Tumors, which are small and have not spread, are much easier to treat and result into a higher rate of treatment success. Larger tumors, or those which have spread, decrease the survival rate.

The relative survival rate takes into account the patient's age and other factors and compares them with other women within these same categories to find the percentage of survival. At the moment, the prognosis for ovarian cancer shows that 45% are likely to exceed 5 years following diagnosis and treatment when compared to others who are cancer free but lead similar lives.

This number will change depending on the type and stage of cancer, with stage 5 ephithelial ovarian cancer having a 17% chance of survival, while a stage 3 of germ cell tumor has a survival rate of 84%. The characteristics of your cancer will alter these numbers, so it is important to work with your doctor to obtain a prognosis, rather than turning solely to the information available online.

Getting Treatment:

Treatment, such as chemotherapy, can increase the chances of survival, even if surgery is the top choice of a medical team. Surgery is used in most cases of ovarian cancer as a front line of defense when the tumor is still contained and easy to remove. When combined with chemotherapy, patients tend to have a greater chance for relief.

While the numbers for ovarian cancer survival may not be as high as with other forms of the disease, it is not hopeless. In fact, with early detection and immediate treatment, many patients find themselves surpassing expectations and living full lives despite a poor prognosis for ovarian cancer.

Speak to your doctor as soon as you begin to develop symptoms which point to ovarian cancer. These include sudden weight loss, bloating and pain of the abdomen, frequent urination, and bowel problems, such as constipation. Many times, there are no symptoms at all in the very early stages of the disease, so pay close attention to your body and don't miss your check-ups.

* Disclaimer:
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.