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What Factors Affect Ovarian Cancer Life Expectancy?

By C.B. Fox
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There are a number of factors that can affect the ovarian cancer life expectancy of a patient. Ovarian cancers can be rated by the type of cell affected, the differentiation of the cancer cells and the stage of the cancer, and all of these factors affect a patient’s chances of beating the cancer. In most cases, this type of cancer can go into complete remission, in which case the life expectancy is good. After five years of remission, the cancer is considered to be treated and the patient’s life expectancy is no longer affected by the disease.

Doctors will examine the tumor in a case of ovarian cancer to learn more about the specifics of the cancer in each particular patient. No two cancers behave in precisely the same way and learning about the structure of the cancerous tumor helps medical professionals develop a course of treatment specific to the needs of each particular woman. Once they know a bit more about the cancerous cells, doctors are able to talk to their patients about their ovarian cancer life expectancy.

For the most part, ovarian cancer is considered treatable, which means the patient can expect to make a full recovery. Cancers that are caught in the early stages, before they have made it into nearby tissues, are the easiest to treat. The life expectancy of a patient with Stage 1 cancer is good, and 90 percent of patients will survive past the five-year mark. Patients with Stage 2 or Stage 3 cancer can still be expected to survive, though only about 70 percent of patients at these stages reach the five-year mark. In a patient with widespread, Stage 4 cancer, the ovarian cancer life expectancy is significantly decreased and only 30 percent of patients beat the cancer.

Ovarian cancer life expectancy can also be influenced by the type of cells in the tumor. Cells that are well differentiated are easier to kill and also grow at a slower rate, which gives doctors more time to treat the disease. In these cases, the life expectancy of a patient is very good. Cancers that are poorly differentiated spread quickly, which gives patients with these types of cancer cells less of a chance of surviving. Clear cell and mucinous tumors are also harder to treat than germ cell tumors or sex cord-stromal tumors.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Animandel — On Aug 12, 2014

The campaign to make people more aware of ovarian cancer is one of the main reasons that the disease is less mysterious than it was in the past. Nonprofit organizations have done a great job giving women the information they need to help treat this disease.

The establishing of the month of September as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in the United States has also brought more publicity to the disease, and the publicity has meant more donations in the battle against this disease. Shining a light on ovarian cancer is very important. There was a time when no one wanted to talk about this deadly disease.

By Sporkasia — On Aug 11, 2014

I can remember years ago when a famous actress died with ovarian cancer. That was the first time I had heard of the disease, and I remember at the time this disease was more deadly than it is now because we knew less about cancers in general back then. Of course, as this article says, finding and treating the cancer early is still a big factor in the outcome.

The advances scientists and doctors have made in the treatment of cancers over the last couple decades are amazing and these advancements lead me to think that we may one day have a cure or at least a vaccination for most of the cancers we are dealing with today.

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