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Ovarian Cancer Mortality Rates Decline Worldwide

By Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN
Researchers in Milan, Italy examined worldwide ovarian cancer trends and mortality, and predicted trends in these rates for eight large countries (including the US) using data from the World Health Organization database.

In Europe, age-adjusted ovarian cancer mortality rates decreased 10% between 2002 and 2012, to 5.2 women per 100,000 women. The decline was 16% in the US, to 4.9 women per 100,000. In 2012. Latin American countries had lower rates, and declines were observed in Argentina and Chile. Modest declines (−2.1%) were observed in Japan, where the ovarian cancer rate remained low (3.2/100,000 in 2012). Australia had a rate of 4.3/100,000 in 2012, and a 12% decline. The declines were greatest among young women in the countries studied, rather than in middle or older age. Predictions to 2020 indicate a further 15% decline in the US and a 10% decline in Europe and Japan.

The researchers concluded that the recent decline in hormone replacement therapy during menopause may in part explain the decline in ovarian cancer for middle aged and older women. The wide use of oral contraceptives among young women in the US and Europe may account for declines in ovarian cancer among young women in these countries. The researchers also noted that there may be other factors, such as obesity and diet, which may influence ovarian cancer trends in the future. More information on the study findings is available here.
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