Ask the SAC | Why Is the Number of Ovarian Cancer Diagnoses Decreasing?

OCRA’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) is composed of doctors and researchers who are well-known and well-respected experts in the field of gynecologic oncology. They review the proposals we receive for research funding — hundreds of letters of intent and grant applications from investigators all around the world who are determined and dedicated to finding a cure for ovarian cancer.

We posed the following question to our SAC, and below are their responses.

Fewer people each year are being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Why do you feel the numbers are decreasing?

  • “This is likely due to several factors — increase in hormonal contraception, risk-reducing surgery in patients with BRCA or other high-risk mutations, and increase in opportunistic salpingectomy.”
  • “Likely many reasons — more use of oral contraceptive pills (OCPs), less hormone replacement, better awareness, genetic testing and prevention surgery in at-risk individuals, prophylactic surgery, etc.”
  • “OCPs, salpingectomy for permanent sterilization [rather than tubal ligation], knowledge of familial link and interventional strategies.”
  • “The incidence of ovarian cancer has declined over the last two decades. While no one knows for sure why this is, the increased use of oral contraceptive pills, which are protective against ovarian cancer in premenopausal women, and the decreasing use of hormone replacement therapy in older women, a factor associated with ovarian cancer, may explain some of the decline.”
  • “It would be great to think that our movement to do opportunistic salpingectomies is helping to reduce the incidence of ovarian cancer but this is not known. It is still problematic that many patients still do not access care or have opportunities for state-of-the-art treatment and still may be misclassified or not counted in the tumor registries.”
  • “Multiple reasons. A few reasons focusing on prevention include the use of oral contraceptives, increased acceptance of opportunistic salpingectomy at the time of hysterectomy for benign conditions, and cascade genetic testing.”

Learn more about who serves on OCRA’s Scientific Advisory Committee.

Ovarian Cancer from Beyond the Ovary

A thought-provoking exploration of how we can learn about ovarian cancer by expanding our knowledge of other gynecologic cancers, by Dr. David Huntsman, Professor at the University of British Columbia and the Canada Research Chair in Molecular and Genomic Pathology.

Types of Gynecologic Cancer

Learn more about cancers that affect the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, endometrium, peritoneum, uterus, vagina, and vulva.

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