September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

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Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Ovarian cancer encompasses cancers of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the primary peritoneum, which is the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers the abdominal organs. Taken together, this group is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women in the United States.

These cancers often go undetected until they’ve reached advanced stages. They may not cause early signs or symptoms, and it is difficult to screen for the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Ovarian cancer is rare – about 1.3 percent of women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer at some point in their life, according to data from the NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. An estimated 19,710 women in the United States will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 13,270 are expected to die from the disease in 2023.

But because it often goes untreated until the disease has advanced, the survival rate is low, with a five-year relative survival rate of 50.8 percent.

There are three types of ovarian cancer in adults. Ovarian epithelial cancer begins in the tissue covering the ovary, lining the fallopian tube, or the peritoneum. Ovarian germ cell tumors start in the egg or germ cells. Ovarian low malignant potential tumors begin in the tissue covering the ovary, and are characterized by abnormal cells that may become cancer, but usually do not. 

Risk factors for developing ovarian cancer include family history and the presence of inherited gene mutations. There are tests that can detect mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which increase the risk of female breast and ovarian cancers and some additional types of cancer. Other risk factors include the use of estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy and the use of fertility drugs.


Ovarian Cancer-Focused Seminar Series

In October 2023, the AACR will present the AACR Special Conference: Ovarian Cancer in Boston, Massachusetts. The AACR is committed to supporting the ovarian cancer workforce and ovarian cancer patients. This meeting will mark the AACR’s sixth Biennial Special Conference on Ovarian Cancer.

In September 2022, the Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer and the AACR presented the Virtual Ovarian Cancer Research Series. The goal of the Seminar Series is to bring together clinicians and researchers from across many disciplines and institutions worldwide to share ideas and advance the field of ovarian cancer research. 

Supporting Research Grants

The AACR has recently awarded research grants to investigators pursuing promising research related to gynecologic cancers. 

In 2022, Ksenija Nesic, PhD, of The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Australia and Anna Salvioni, PharmD, PhD, University Cancer Institute Toulouse Oncopole (IUCT Oncopole) in France were awarded AACR-AstraZeneca Ovarian Cancer Research Fellowships.

In 2022, Sung-Min Hwang, PhD of Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York, New York was awarded an AACR-Bristol Myers Squibb Immuno-oncology Research Fellowship.

for more information

Please see our page on ovarian cancer, which has information on prevention, screening and treatment of the different types of ovarian cancer.