Globally, ovarian cancer (OC) is the seventh most common cancer in women, with more than 230,000 cases estimated to have been diagnosed in 2012. OC can come in the form of several histological subtypes, with carcinoma accounting for more than 90% of all OC cases. Based on historical evidence and population aging, the incidence of OC is also set to increase over the coming decade. Aside from being the most common type of OC, carcinoma has been identified as the most aggressive and dangerous form of OC. Thus, treatments should target improving the diagnosis and remission of carcinoma OC.

The impact of OC is especially significant in Europe and North America, which have some of the highest rates of OC incidence globally. OC and is a serious disease that affects the reproductive organs of women, and is a leading cause of cancer mortality in women; GlobalData estimates that more than 14,000 OC deaths will occur in the US alone in 2017. The disease is often diagnosed in its later stages, by which time prognosis is poor. National screening programs are currently not in place, and further research is needed in order to fully understand the etiology and pathogenesis of the disease.

The major subtypes of OC include carcinoma, sex-cord stromal tumors, and germ-cell tumors. Carcinomas are also subdivided based on location and cell type affected, including serous, endometrioid, mucinous, and clear cell carcinomas. OC cancer survival is dependent on the type of cancer and the stage at which is diagnosed. Ovarian carcinomas have the lowest survival rates of all types, with Stage I invasive epithelial carcinoma and Stage I fallopian tube carcinoma estimated to have 90% and 87% survival, respectively. In comparison, Stage I germ cell tumors are estimated to have 98% survival.

Figure 1 presents the number of diagnosed incident cases of OC by histologic subtype in the 7MM in 2015. For the combined seven major markets (7MM: US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, and Japan), carcinoma accounts for greater than 90% of all OC cases.

MM, Diagnosed Incident Cases of OC by Histologic Subtype, Women, Ages ≥18 Years, 2015

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The importance of early and accurate diagnosis is highly critical to improving patient outcomes. Unfortunately, the most aggressive and dangerous form of OC is also the most common, and is also the form most often diagnosed in the later stages of the disease. Understanding overall disease trends can begin to improve early and accurate diagnosis.

Details about the disease trends and analysis, as well as additional discussion of OC epidemiology, can be found in the EpiCast Report: Ovarian and Primary Peritoneal Cancer and the associated EpiCast model.