Ovarian cancer is, globally, one of the most prevalent types of cancer, as well as the most lethal gynecologic form of the disease. While it is currently defined by uncontrolled cell growth in the ovaries, increasing evidence indicates the condition may actually begin in the fallopian tubes.

Diagnosis difficulties

The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague and nonspecific. This often results in late diagnosis at an advanced stage, and poor prognosis. The estimated five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is around 30% to 40%. Although there has been increasing research to develop an effective screening tool for the disease, there has been little success. 

Future predictions

GlobalData epidemiologists forecast that, except for the US, between 2018 and 2028 cases of ovarian cancer are expected to increase in each of the seven major markets (US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, and Japan). In these countries, instances are expected to rise at an Annual Growth Rate (AGR) of 0.42%. By contrast, the US will see a decrease in cases from 2018 to 2028, at a negative AGR of 0.22%.

Figure 1 shows diagnosed incident cases of ovarian cancer in the 7MM for 2018 and 2028.

Figure 1: 7MM, Diagnosed Incident Cases of Ovarian Cancer (N), Women, ≥18 Years, 2018 and 2028

The decline in the US is due to an expected decrease in incidence rates for specific age groups during the forecast period.

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A lower use of menopausal hormones in women ages 50 years and older is one reason for the decline. Increased usage of oral contraceptives since the 1970s and changes in population may also be driving factors.

Early detection of ovarian cancer has long been a priority in research. This is because patients with an early diagnosis often have a significantly higher five-year survival rate than those diagnosed at a later stage.

Understanding the pathogenesis of the different histologic subtypes of ovarian cancer will require further research. This includes treatment options that can target the different subtypes.