Statistics, Ovarian Cancer and You
If you or someone you love has been recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you likely have many questions. It can be hard to accept or understand, especially because ovarian cancer is often diagnosed after it has spread.
It is important to know that you are not alone as you move forward in the treatment process. Ovarian cancer is rare compared to other forms of cancer, yet it still affects thousands of women each year.
Fast Facts on Ovarian Cancer
- According to government data, over 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year.
- According to the National Cancer Institute, women are most likely to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer between the ages of 55 and 64.
- The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition estimates that ovarian cancer is the 5th deadliest cancer for women between the ages of 35 and 74.
- Ovarian cancer cases are on the decline in the U.S. In 2015, approximately 11 out of 100,000 women were diagnosed. This is down from 14 out of 100,000 women in 1999.
- Survival rates are increasing. In 1975, only 33% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer would still be alive after 5 years. By 2014, that number increased to 47.4% of women.
- In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that Maine had the lowest rate of new ovarian cancer cases (8.3 out of 100,000 women). New Mexico had the highest rate of new ovarian cancer cases (12.8 out of 100,000 women).
- Caucasian women are more likely to develop ovarian cancer than any other group.
Ovarian Cancer Recurrence Rates
There is no cure for ovarian cancer. Although it can be treated, there is always a possibility of it returning. When ovarian cancer returns despite treatment, it is called a recurrence.
According to the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, 70% of women will have a recurrence of ovarian cancer despite treatment. However, the risk varies depending on when you first seek treatment.
The OCRA states the recurrence rates are:
- 10% for women with stage 1 ovarian cancer
- 30% for women with stage 2 cancer
- 70-90% for women with stage 3 cancer
- 90-95% for women with stage 4 cancer
Recurrences of ovarian cancer are treated based on a woman’s previous treatment plan, including chemotherapy and surgery.
Ovarian Cancer Risks
Certain factors increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer. These factors are not a guarantee that you will develop cancer, but they are important to know. By understanding them, you can take preventative actions to lower your ovarian cancer risk.
- If you had another form of cancer—particularly breast cancer—at some point in your life, you are at a higher risk of ovarian cancer. In addition, if your parents had ovarian or breast cancer, you are more likely to develop ovarian cancer.
- 15% of all cases of ovarian cancer are due to hereditary issues, such as gene mutations.
- BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations are often passed down from parents to children. These mutations greatly increase your risk of cancer.
- 30 in 100 women will develop ovarian cancer before the age of 70 if they have a BRCA mutation.
- Women of Ashkenazi Jewish (Eastern Europe) heritage have a 1 in 40 chance of carrying a BRCA mutation.
In addition, some research studies and lawsuits have linked ovarian cancer to commonly used products like talcum powder. Scientists are currently researching how long-term use of talcum powder may increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian Cancer Preventions
Medical experts have not found a way to completely prevent ovarian cancer. However, there are some steps to take if you think you are at risk.
Prevention methods include:
- Having children before age 30
- Taking a low dose of aspirin regularly
- Taking birth control pills
- Undergoing surgery such as tubal ligation (tying fallopian tubes) or a hysterectomy (removal of uterus along with cervix, ovaries and/or fallopian tubes)
- For people with BRCA gene mutations, removing the ovaries reduces the risk of ovarian cancer by 85-95% according to the American Cancer Society
Ovarian Cancer, Talcum Powder and Lawsuits
In recent years, ovarian cancer has been linked to talcum powder use through a series of high-profile lawsuits against major companies. Dozens of women and their families have successfully claimed in court that regular use of talcum powder caused them to develop ovarian cancer.
In recent years, juries ordered Johnson & Johnson®, the world’s leading talcum powder manufacturer, to award groups of women billions of dollars in compensation.
These payouts included:
- Nearly $4.70 Billion to 22 women and their families in a Missouri case in 2018
- $417 Million to a California woman in 2017
- $110 Million to a Virginia woman in 2016
- $70 Million to a California woman in 2016
These are only some of the payouts that Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay by the courts. However, juries have ruled with Johnson & Johnson in some cases. The company also seeks to appeal the verdicts in suits they lost.
Despite this, the company is currently facing over 12,000 lawsuits in regard to their talc products as of early 2019. In many of these suits, plaintiffs allege that the use of the company’s talc products led to their ovarian cancer.
If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and use or have used talc-containing products regularly, contact Talcum Powder Cancer Guide to see if you are eligible to submit a claim against the manufacturers of these deadly products.