DPH: Ovarian Cancer in Connecticut: Facts & Figures

Ovarian Cancer in Connecticut: Facts & Figures
On this page you will find information about how ovarian cancer affects women in Connecticut. Statistics are shown for the following topics:
     New Cases
     Cancer Deaths
     Risk Factors
     Stage of Disease at Diagnosis

  • Ovarian cancer is the 8th most common cancer diagnosed in women in Connecticut.
  • There were 279 new cases of malignant ovarian cancer diagnosed in women in Connecticut in 2004.
  • Connecticut had the 15th highest rate of new ovarian cancers in the United States in 2000-2004.
{Ovarian cancer incidence, Connecticut 2004}
  • Ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer-related death in Connecticut women, and accounts for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.
  • 169 Connecticut women died from ovarian cancer in 2004.
  • Connecticut had the 15th lowest rate of death from ovarian cancer in the United States in 2000-2004.
{Ovarian cancer deaths, Connecticut 2004}
New cases:
  • Rates of new ovarian cancers have decreased over the last 30 years.
    (Link to Notes: 3 at end)
{Ovarian cancer incidence, Connecticut 1972-2004}
  • Ovarian cancer death rates have also decreased over the last 30 years.
{Ovarian cancer death trends, Connecticut 1973-2004}
  • The chance of getting ovarian cancer increases with age.
  • More than 4 out of every 5 ovarian cancers diagnosed in 2004 were in women 50 years of age or older.
{New ovarian cancer cases by age, Connecticut 2004}
  • Ovarian cancer rates vary among women from different racial and ethnic groups:
    • White, non-Hispanic women are the most likely to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
{New cases of ovarian cancer by race and ethnicity, Connecticut 2000-2004}
    • White, non-Hispanic women are the most likely to die of ovarian cancer.
{Ovarian cancer death rate by race and ethnicity, Connecticut 2000-2004}
  • Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose at an early stage, due in part to a lack of early symptoms and the absence of a reliable screening test.
  • In Connecticut, only about 1 in 6 ovarian cancers were diagnosed at an early (localized) stage in 1999-2003.
  • More than 2 out of 3 ovarian cancers were found at a late (distant) stage.
{Ovarian cancer stage at diagnosis, Connecticut 1999-2003}
  • Ovarian cancer survival rates depend on many factors, including stage of disease at diagnosis.
  • The 5-year relative survival rate ('relative' means adjusted for mortality in the general population) for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Connecticut is 44%.
  • The relative survival rate is much higher when the cancer is diagnosed at an early (localized) stage of disease, than when it is diagnosed at a late stage.
{5-year relative survival, ovarian cancer, Connecticut 1999-2003}


1. Malignant (invasive) cancers are those that have spread (or 'invaded') into cells beyond the layer of tissue in which they first developed. When a cancer spreads to a different part of the body, it is called metastatic cancer. In situ cancers are early cancers that have not invaded through the immediate layer of tissue.

A benign tumor is histologically (microscopically) non-cancerous and does not spread to other parts of the body. Tumor registries collect information on all malignant and in situ cancers (excluding basal and squamous cell skin cancers and in situ cancers of the cervix) and benign tumors of the brain and central nervous system.

2. Cancer data for the United States are collected through two federally funded programs: the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program of the National Cancer Institute and the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The SEER program was established in 1973 to provide an authoritative source of information on cancer incidence and survival in the United States and currently covers approximately 26% of the United States population. The NPCR was set up in 1992 to extend cancer data coverage to the remainder of the United States population, and to assist non-SEER registries in gathering complete and high quality data. For the period 2000-2004, 39 registries achieved sufficiently high data quality for inclusion in national cancer incidence figures. See North American Association of Central Cancer Registries for further details.

Connecticut Tumor Registry is one of the original SEER registries and is the oldest tumor registry in the United States.

3. Rates of new cancer cases or deaths are the numbers of cases or deaths in a given number of women (usually 100,000) in a year. Because the risk of cancer increases with age, rates are usually age-adjusted, which allows rates in different groups of people to be compared even when one group has a higher proportion of older people. Except for rates in different age groups, the rates presented here have been age-adjusted.

4. To monitor cancer rates in different racial and ethnic groups, cancer registries collect information on race and Hispanic ethnicity. Although ethnicity data are required to be reported, they are not always provided. Cancer registries supplement their ethnicity data using a nationally accepted method based on an individual's names. However, there is potential for some misclassification using this method, particularly in women due to the frequent absence of maiden names in cancer registry databases.

The 'Other' race category includes women of American Indian, Alaskan Native, Asian and Pacific Island backgrounds.

5. The stage of a cancer is a measure of how far the cancer has spread at the time of diagnosis. Stage is usually based on the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes contain cancer, and whether the cancer has spread (metastasized) from the original site to other parts of the body. Localized (early stage) cancer is limited to the organ in which it began, without evidence of spread. Regional cancer has spread beyond the original (primary) site to nearby lymph nodes or organs and tissues. Distant (late stage) cancer has spread from the primary site to distant organs or distant lymph nodes. Unstaged cancers are those for which there is not enough information to indicate a stage.

6. Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage when it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread.

At this time there is no standard or routine screening test for ovarian cancer in the general population, but tests for early detection of ovarian cancer are currently under study. More information about ongoing studies is available from the National Cancer Institute.

7. The survival rate is a measure of how long people live after diagnosis with cancer. The relative survival rate is defined as the ratio of a cancer patient's chance of surviving a given time interval to that of a person of the same age and sex in the general US population (i.e., the rate has been adjusted for mortality in the general population).

Content Last Modified on 1/2/2008 12:04:55 PM