The 5-year relative survival rate for any type of ovarian cancer is 49.7%. Individuals who are diagnosed with the disease will have one of three types of ovarian cancer, which can impact the survival rate.

The above data is from 2012–2018 and comes from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER).

A relative survival rate helps give an idea of how long a person with a particular condition will live after receiving a diagnosis compared with those without the condition.

For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate is 70%, it means that a person with the condition is 70% as likely to live for 5 years as someone without the condition.

It is important to remember that these figures are estimates. A person can consult a healthcare professional about how their condition is going to affect them.

This article discusses the outlook for ovarian cancer, as well as factors that affect these figures. It also discusses the screening guidelines for ovarian cancer.

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The 5-year relative survival rate for all types ovarian cancer is 49.7%.

The type of ovarian cancer can affect a person’s outlook. A person with an ovarian cancer diagnosis will have one of the following types of tumors, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS):

  • Epithelial cells: These begin in the cells that cover the outer surface of the ovaries. They account for 85–90% of ovarian tumors.
  • Germ cell tumors: These begin in the cells that produce the eggs. These types of ovarian tumors have a good outlook, with over 9 out of 10 people living for at least 5 years after a diagnosis.
  • Stromal tumors: These begin in the tissue cells that hold the ovaries together. They also produce estrogen and progesterone. These tumors are often found at the early stages, and over 75% of people survive long-term.

Other factors such as overall health and treatment options can also affect survival rates.

Both the stage and the type of ovarian cancer are factored into an individual’s outlook. Doctors use various methods to determine the cancer stage.

The SEER database tracks 5-year relative survival rates for ovarian cancer in the United States based on how far the cancer has spread. It also groups the cancers into the following stages:

  • Localized: Cancer cells affect only the ovaries or fallopian tubes and have not spread elsewhere.
  • Regional: Cancer has spread to nearby organs, such as the uterus.
  • Distant: Cancer is present elsewhere in the body. It now affects other organs, such as the lungs or liver.

The following 5-year relative survival rates for ovarian cancer reflect the percentage of people who lived 5 or more years after receiving a diagnosis in 2011–2017:

Invasive epithelial ovarian cancerOvarian stromal tumorsGerm cell tumors of the ovary
All stages combined49%90%93%

Several other factors can affect ovarian cancer survival rates, including the following:

  • the stage of ovarian cancer at the time of diagnosis
  • the type and grade of ovarian cancer
  • a person’s overall health
  • a person’s age due to other health conditions

According to the ACS, about 20% of ovarian cancers are found at an early stage. When the condition is detected early, around 94% of patients live longer than 5 years after diagnosis.

There are no recommended screening tests for ovarian cancer for individuals who do not have symptoms and are not at high risk of developing the condition.

However, a doctor may recommend a transvaginal ultrasound or a blood test for the CA-125 marker for people who are at high risk of developing ovarian cancer.

People may have a high risk of ovarian cancer if they have:

  • an inherited syndrome
  • a genetic mutation
  • a strong family history of ovarian cancer

Better approaches to screen for ovarian cancer are being researched. However, there are currently no reliable screening tests.

The 5-year relative survival rate for all types of ovarian cancer is 49.7%.

A person’s outlook can vary depending on the type and stage of ovarian cancer, along with other factors, such as a person’s overall health.

A person’s outlook is more positive if the cancer is detected early. Although there are no regular screening guidelines for ovarian cancer, people should contact a doctor if they notice any symptoms of the disease.