Fast Facts from the WHA Info Center: Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer does not rank among the most common forms of cancer affecting women, but it is among the deadliest. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that roughly 21,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. By comparison, around 250,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Although the numbers seem small, ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women. In fact, about 1-in-78 women are at risk of getting ovarian cancer. CDD data shows a steady decline in the annual rate of ovarian cancer in the U.S. since the late 1990s.
The WHA Information Center analyzed all inpatient, emergency department and outpatient claims from 2018 to 2020 to see how Wisconsin compares to national statistics. The average age of women who visited hospitals for ovarian cancer during this period was 63. Women aged 61-70 had the highest visit counts compared to all other age groupings. This is consistent with the national trend, as more than half of those diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 60 years or older. Over 50% of ovarian cancer visit patients were seen at an inpatient hospital. Medicare was the primary payment method for 50% of patients, followed closely by commercial insurance. The overwhelming majority of patients (93%) seen for ovarian cancer were white.
Knowing the risk factors for ovarian cancer cited by the CDC is important to diagnosing and treating the disease. Consider the following when assessing ovarian cancer risk in women:
- Middle-aged or older;
- Has close family members (such as a mother, sister, aunt, or grandmother) on either the mother’s or father’s side, who have had ovarian cancer;
- Has a genetic mutation (abnormality) called BRCA1 or BRCA2, or one associated with Lynch syndrome;
- Has had breast, uterine or colorectal (colon) cancer;
- Has an Eastern European or Ashkenazi Jewish background;
- Has endometriosis (a condition where tissue from the lining of the uterus grows elsewhere in the body); and
- Has never given birth or have had trouble getting pregnant.
This story originally appeared in the September 02, 2021 edition of WHA Newsletter