In a healthy person, cells in the body divide a certain number of times, and then stop. When cancer strikes, though, cell division goes haywire—the cells never stop dividing, and they form a tumor. Sometimes, the abnormal cells will metastasize—break off from the original tumor and travel to other parts of the body—through the bloodstream or lymph system.
Almost any cell in any part of the body can become cancerous, but ovarian cancer is among the deadliest. A woman’s risk for getting ovarian cancer in her lifetime is about 1 in 75, and her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is 1 in 100, according to the American Cancer Society. More than 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016, and about 14,000 will die from it.
Since the ovaries are located so deep within the body, just 20% of all ovarian cancer cases are discovered in the early stages. That’s why it’s important for all women to know the facts about this deadly disease. Here are 17 of them you should know.