Although ethnic and racial differences in ovarian cancer incidence and mortality have been reported worldwide, few published data have addressed the epidemiology of ovarian cancer among U.S. American Indians and Hispanics. We reviewed ovarian cancer incidence and survival data from New Mexico's population-based cancer registry collected from 1969 to 1992, and examined state vital records data for ovarian cancer deaths collected from 1958 to 1992, focusing on ethnic differences in occurrence and outcomes of ovarian malignancies. Non-Hispanic white women had age-adjusted incidence rates that were slightly higher (13.3/100,000) than rates for American Indians (11.4) and Hispanics (10.7) over the 24-year period. Ovarian cancer mortality rates were also higher for non-Hispanic whites than for minority women. Neither incidence rates nor mortality rates for ovarian cancer improved over the span of the study period. In addition, the stage at diagnosis did not shift substantially over time for any of the ethnic groups studied, nor did the distribution of various histopathological types shift proportionately. Only slight improvement was observed in 5-year survival over the time period of the study, with greater gains among younger (50 years old or less) versus older women. Ethnic differences in ovarian cancer incidence and mortality were apparent in our population-based data. However, our analysis indicated no reduction in ovarian cancer incidence or mortality in our state over the past quarter century and only slight improvement in 5-year survival.

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