Most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer want to know the prognosis of their case. The prognosis is often of great help, because it helps the patient understand the disease and what is likely to follow in the future. Moreover, ovarian cancer prognosis helps the patient plan their finances, lifestyle, and take care of other important things.
What is Prognosis?
The prognosis is basically your doctor’s opinion about how the disease will progress and what will be its outcome in your case. The prognosis is based on various factors, but more on that later on. The prognosis varies from one person to another. No two persons can have the same prognosis. Though prognosis given by the doctor is correct in most of the cases, it may turn out to be wrong in some cases.
Factors Influencing Prognosis
When a doctor makes an ovarian cancer prognosis, one of the first things the doctor looks at is the five year survival rates. The five year survival rate refers to the percentage of women who have lived for five years after diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
When making a prognosis in a case, the doctor will specifically look for the survival rate of the type of ovarian cancer that is affecting the concerned patient. In other words, if the patient has been diagnosed with germ cell tumor, the doctor will provide the five year survival rate for this particular ovarian tumor.
Patient’s age is a big factor that influences prognosis in ovarian cancer, for that matter in every type of cancers. In ovarian cancer, women below the age of 65 generally have a better prognosis than older women.
Stage of Ovarian Cancer
Another factor that the doctor will look at when giving a prognosis is the stage of cancer.
In stage 1, in which the cancer is limited to one or both the ovaries, the five year survival rates are above 90%. If the patient is young and is diagnosed with stage 1 ovarian cancer, her prognosis is likely to be very good. However, we must keep in mind that only 19% of the ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed in stage 1.
In stage 2, in which the cancer has spread outside the ovaries to the pelvic area, the prognosis states that there is 70% chance of surviving the first five years. Statistics state that only 7% of the ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed in stage 2.
In stage 3, in which the cancer has spread beyond the pelvic area, the five year survival rate is only 30%. For women who are above the age of 65 the prognosis is not going to be good in stage 3 ovarian cancer.
The sad part is that 68% of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed when the disease has reached stage 3.
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Type of Ovarian Cancer and Prognosis
The prognosis of ovarian cancer is also based on the type of ovarian cancer that the patient is suffering from.
Epithelial ovarian cancer, of which there are many types, makes up around 90% of the ovarian cancer cases. Serous adenomas, a type of an epithelial ovarian cancer, make up 70% of the cases. Serous cancers usually have a better prognosis than mucinous adenomas, which make up 10% of the epithelial ovarian cancer.
When prognosis for serous and mucinous cancers is compared to clear cell cancer, they fare much better. Clear cell cancer cases, which make up 3-4% of the epithelial ovarian cancer, usually have a poor prognosis due to the cancer’s aggressive nature.
Woman’s Health and Response to Treatment Patient’s health at the time of diagnosis is obviously going to have an effect on the prognosis. Generally healthier and younger women are given a better prognosis than older and unfit women. Some patients respond better to treatment than others. Obviously patients who respond favorably to the treatment are going to have a better prognosis than those who do not.
Improvement in Prognosis
The overall prognosis for ovarian cancer has improved over the years. This is mainly due to availability of new treatment options and more awareness about this disease. However, we still cannot ignore the fact when compared to other types of cancers ovarian cancer prognosis still remains poor. Overall ovarian cancer has only 46% five year survival rate. This is mainly due to the fact that ovarian cancers are usually detected when they have spread to the other parts.
Learning about the prognosis is often the first step to dealing with this disease. The prognosis will help you give a realistic outlook. Talk to your doctor and see how you can improve your prognosis. For example, sometimes making lifestyle changes, like quitting smoking, can really help you in your fight against this disease. So talk to your doctor and find out how else you can improve your prognosis of ovarian cancer.
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