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OVARIAN CANCER

Ovarian cancer occurs in or near the ovaries. The ovaries are two small organs on either side of the uterus that produce eggs, as well as the hormones oestrogen and progesterone to regulate the menstrual cycle and the development of female physical characteristics.

What is ovarian cancer?

We now know that ovarian cancer is not a single disease, but a variety of cancers that share a location in or near the ovaries, and that many of these cancers arise from cells outside the ovary. Up to 80% of ovarian can-cer deaths are caused by high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSC), but this mostly arises from cells of the fallopian tube spreading to the ovary.

Key statistics

  • 75%
    Ovarian cancer is rarely diagnosed in the early stages and around 75% of patients present with advanced cancer at diagnosis
  • 35–40%
    Survival has little improved over the last 20 years and only 35–40% are likely to survive for five years
  • TOP 5
    Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths in Western women
  • 100,000
    Globally an estimated 100,000 women die each year from recurrent ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer research at Garvan

Professor Bowtell leads the Ovarian Cancer Program at the Garvan Institute and also holds a joint appointment at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. He is a world-leading researcher in ovarian cancer and his team have contributed substantially to an improved understanding of the diversity and biology of ovarian cancer. Professor David Bowtell is also leader of the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study, one of the largest and most sophisticated studies of ovarian cancer in the world.

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