Ovarian Cancer Prognosis and the Survival Rates by Stage

Ovarian cancer afflicts thousands of women every year. It’s one of the most rapidly spreading cancers and catches woman off-guard with few or no symptoms. After an initial diagnosis, most women want to know what the prognosis is. Many women also ask about the survival rates. The answers to these questions are not simple. They vary greatly and depend on a number of factors. Doctors have gotten better at predicting a prognosis for cancer patients but it is just that, a prediction or a forecast. No one can ever be certain how a woman’s body will react to treatment.

Forecasting likely course of a cancer is not a sure bet. Doctors take several factors into consideration when making an ovarian cancer prognosis on a patient. If the cancer is detected in the early stages the possible outcome is much better than if detected at a later stage. The doctor must also consider the age of the woman. The older she is the worse the outcome usually is. Older bodies don’t usually react to treatment as well as younger more resilient bodies. Doctors must additionally take overall health into consideration. A woman’s health plays a major role in the outcome of the surviving the cancer. The healthier and younger she is the better her chances. Research has shown healthier woman react better to treatment than unhealthy woman. If the woman is healthy she has a much better chance at fighting the cancer. If she struggles with weight issues, smoking or other health difficulties it could jeopardize the treatment. Woman who have had cancer before may find it difficult physically, mentally and emotionally to fight cancer again. This is another aspect that can be a deciding factor on a doctor’s prognosis.

Doctors also rely heavily on past treatments and research to base a woman’s prognosis for ovarian cancer. Years of research have been completed and compiled on the subject and doctors use the information to make the best decisions for their patients. Using the past research and current treatments can greatly improve the prognosis and survival rates for women. Since all women react differently to treatment and all cancers are different, doctors have to make their best educated guesses when predicting the outcome of the disease.

ovarian cancer survival rates by stage
Chart of 5-year survival rates of ovarian cancer by stage and age group of -65 and 65+ years old. Localized means the cancer is just in the ovary – Regional means the cancer has progressed to surrounding tissues – Distant means advanced stage of the disease with a progression to distant bodily organs.

As for the survival rates, some researches have shown rates as high as 92% if the cancer is caught before it spreads from the ovaries. If the cancer spreads it becomes much more difficult to treat and the percentage of women that survive decreases significantly. Once cancer spreads to the surrounding organs and lymph nodes it is more difficult to treat. Regardless of the type of ovarian cancer, the average percentage of women that survive to the disease is 44%. The 5-year survival rates for ovarian cancer vary depending on the age of the woman and what stage the cancer was in when it was diagnosed. The different stages of this cancer range from I-IV with many sub-stages in between. The proportion of survivors for each stage vary from 89% to 18% respectively. A woman’s health, her age and stage of her cancer all play a major role in surviving ovarian cancer. For example, women whose cancer are diagnosed before the age of 65 have a greater prognosis and survival rate than older women. Advances in medicine will be able to better to detect this cancer in earlier stages which will greatly enhance the figures in the future.