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Ovarian cancer is a serious disease for which we see disparities in survival across racial/ethnic groups. We previously found that Black/African American women were 40% more likely to die from the disease even after accounting for factors that are known to be related to survival, such as stage of disease and treatment received, compared to White women. Hispanic women also have worse survival. Black and Hispanic women are also less likely to receive recommended treatments than White women. Very little is known about the factors that influence survival within different racial/ethnic groups, or the factors that drive survival differences across groups.

Our Study Goals

We will examine whether differences in neighborhood characteristics, patient and clinical factors including receipt of recommended treatments, and/or molecular features of the tumors, may account for these disparities. Ovarian cancer is understudied in diverse populations, and the proposed work is one of the largest to search for potentially modifiable factors that can reduce disparities in survival. This information is needed to improve outcomes for all women with ovarian cancer.

Research Team

Given the many factors that can contribute to cancer health disparities, this study includes experts from different fields working together. The investigators responsible for conducting the study are:
Dr. Lawrence Kushi, Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California
Dr. Jennifer Anne Doherty, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah
Dr. Elisa Bandera, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Rutgers University
Dr. Scarlett Lin Gomez, University of California, San Francisco

Community Advisory Board Members

Kimberly Richardson, ovarian cancer survivor, cancer advocate
Dee Sparacio, ovarian cancer survivor, cancer advocate


This study is funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute. Read a blog from the NIH about it here. Our study includes understudied populations in ovarian cancer—such as Black/African American, Hispanic, and Asian women, as well as non-Hispanic White women.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is included in the study?
All adult women diagnosed with ovarian cancer at Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) between 2000 and 2023, regardless of race/ethnicity or country of origin will be included in the study. If you were diagnosed and treated during those years at KPNC, you are probably part of the study. Below you can find more information about the study. If you have questions or do not want to be included in this study, please contact us at or 1-833-780-1811. Questions about your rights as a study participant, comments or complaints about the study may be presented to the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Institutional Review Board, 1800 Harrison Street, Oakland, CA 94612, or 1-866-241-0690.

What information or specimens will be used?
This study will be conducted using available patient records and surgical specimens from Kaiser Permanente Northern California; no patients will be contacted for additional information. The study will not have an adverse impact on participants’ medical care, and the medical records are kept separate from the study research database. The tumor tissue will be tested to understand the molecular features of the tumors, which may be associated with differences in survival. We will also look at neighborhood factors derived from area-level databases such as the census.

What are the risks involved from participating in the study?
All of the information that is gathered for this study will be kept strictly confidential with multiple data security and other protections in place. The only risk is that there is a very small chance that there could be a breach of confidentiality. However, there are many rigorous procedures in place to make sure that all personal identifying information will be removed from all data sets that are analyzed.

Why is this study important?
This study is important because it is the only study to date that can identify factors ranging from neighborhood characteristics, to clinical experiences, and tumor features, to understand why there are differences in survival across racial/ethnic groups. The findings from this study will be used to develop specific recommendations to reduce disparities in ovarian cancer survival. This study benefits society because it will provide recommendations that are important across racial/ethnic groups, which has not yet happened for ovarian cancer.


How to contact us?
Toll-free Phone: (1-833-780-1811)

For further information

Description of this study on the NIH RePORTER website:

Description of research projects funded by the NCI to understand disparities in ovarian cancer outcomes:


Publications from our previous study

  1. Bandera EV, Lee VS, Rodriguez-Rodriguez L, Powell CB, Kushi LH. Impact of chemotherapy dosing and ovarian cancer survival according to body mass index. JAMA Oncology 2015; 1(6):737-45.
  2. Bandera EV, Lee V, Rodriguez-Rodriguez L, Powell B, Kushi LH. Racial/ethnic disparities in ovarian cancer treatment and survival. Clinical Cancer Research 2016 Dec 1;22(23):5909-5914.
  3. Bandera, EV, Lee V, Qin B, Rodriguez-Rodriguez L, Powell B, Kushi LH. Impact of body mass index on ovarian cancer survival varies by stage. Br J Cancer. 2017 Jul 11;117(2):282-289.



Facts About Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Cancer Support and Advocacy Organizations