Ovarian cancer most often develops in women aged 50 to 70 years old. It is a cancer that is usually detected late and that results in a high mortality rate. In the United States it is the second most common gynaecologic cancer. According to the Global Cancer Observatory, 1371 new cases were recorded in South Africa in 2018. For the same period, 27 were noted in Lesotho.
The ovary is analogous to the warehouse and production line for the eggs (oocytes). It is a very busy house with different departments, the most active of which is the epithelium from whence the oocytes leave the factory in hope of fertilization. Close to 80 percent of ovarian cancers originate in the epithelium.
The cancer spreads to other places over a period of time, usually slowly. This makes it difficult to detect because the symptoms are not specific and may be confused for other things.