Introduction: Cancer ovary is the third most common malignancy diagnosed in women in Karachi, a moderate to high risk region for the disease. Materials and
Methods: Three hundred and thirty seven cases of ovarian cancer registered at the Karachi Cancer Registry for the years 1995-2002 were reviewed.
Results: The agestandardized incidence rate (ASR) world per 100,000, crude incidence rate per 100,000 (CIR) and frequency of ovarian malignancies in 1995-1997 were 10.9, 5.9 and 6.2% respectively. Corresponding figures for 1998-2002 were 8.1, 5.1 and 4.8%. The mean age at presentation in 1995-1997 was 45.7 years (95%CI 42.9, 48.4; SD±15.9),range 95 (3 to 98) years and in 1998-2002 it was 45.0 years (95%CI 42.8, 47.3; SD±16.1), range 79 (3 to 82) years. Eleven (3.3%) cases of childhood cancers, 13 (3.9%) adolescent cases, 126 (37.4%) reproductive age (20-44 years) and 187 (55.5%) cases in the 45+ age group were registered. Epithelial malignancies were the most common cancers above the age of 20 years (78.4%), the commonest amongst these was serous adenocarcinoma (33.3%). Germ cell tumors were more common (5.6%) in children and adolescents. Microscopic confirmation was 99.0%. Presentation was of a moderately differentiated (grade 2) malignancy with a regional or distant spread of disease in three fourths of the cases.
Conclusions: The incidence of cancer ovary, though stable in Karachi, involves a relatively younger age group with a strong family history in a fourth of the cases. The disease presents at an advanced stage. An ageing population over time may translate into a higher incidence of ovarian cancer. The current incidence of cancer ovary in Karachi is an enigma and belies reproductive protective factors. Studies focused on the genetic risk factors in this population are recommended.