Women with ovarian cancer often present with advanced-stage disease because the symptoms of ovarian cancer may be “silent” or mimic other diseases and disorders. Consequently, the prognosis is usually poor. However, some women do live a long time following an ovarian cancer diagnosis.
Researchers from the University of California Davis Health System and Medical Center noted the paucity of data on long-term survivors of epithelial ovarian cancer. The California Cancer Registry was used to identify women diagnosed between 1994 and 2001, and followed until 2011. Characteristics of the women who survived more than 10 years were compared to women who survived less than 2 years, those who survived 2-5 years, and those who survived 5-10 years. About a third of the women (3582 out of 11,541) survived more than 10 years. A fourth of the women were under age 50, and 67% of the cancers were stage III or IV.
Younger age, early-stage disease, and low-grade and non-serous histology were significant predictors of survival. However, long-term survivors also included some women with high-risk cancer. Because a third of the women in the study were long-term survivors, the prognosis for ovarian cancer is not as bleak as we may have thought. As the researchers noted, this new information about long-term survival has important implications when counseling women about their prognosis following an ovarian cancer diagnosis.
Cress RD, Chen Y, Morris CR, et al. Characteristics of long-term survivors of epithelial ovarian cancer. Obstetrics and Gynecology 2015; published online ahead of print. Available at: http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Abstract/publishahead/Characteristics_of_Long_Term_Survivors_of.98982.aspx