Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death for women and the most fatal of all gynecologic malignancies. Labeled “the whispering disease,” ovarian cancer has an insidious onset with vague symptoms such as gastrointestinal upset, abdominal bloating and fatigue. Early diagnosis is often delayed and patients present with advanced disease. This article provides an overview of ovarian cancer, including epidemiology, classification, risk factors, screening and early detection. © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.