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Predicting the value of indexing symptoms for ovarian cancer
Date:1/13/2012

The use of symptom indices to identify patients with symptoms associated with ovarian cancer who may need further screening is increasing in both the UK and the US in an attempt to promote earlier diagnosis, but they may need to be reassessed in order to help better detect cancer, according to a study published January 13 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Ovarian cancer is a disease which is perceived to rarely produce symptoms until the disease has spread to other organs of the body, allowing the disease to reach an advanced stage before it is caught. Some evidence suggests patient-reported symptoms may help detect the cancer early on, and in fact, the Goff index, which uses questionnaire data, has been reported to be effective in identifying women who are at a low to moderate risk of ovarian cancer. However, symptom assessment may greatly influence index performance.

To determine the effectiveness of the symptom indices, Anita Wey Wey Lim of the Centre for Cancer Prevention, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, at Queen Mary University of London and associates looked at data from 194 women who had recently been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 268 control subjects who underwent ovarian cancer screenings. The symptom data was assessed through questionnaires, telephone interviews, and general practitioner notes. The sensitivity of the symptoms reported within a few months of the diagnosis was also determined by comparing two 12 month periods (0-11 and 3-14 months before diagnosis).

The researchers found that the results were similar to those found in previous reports on the Goff index and that the sensitivity of the symptoms were stronger in late- vs early-stage disease. The assessment also shows that there is only a slight variation in the symptoms reported by women with early- vs late-stage disease.

The authors note that a strong point in the study comes from a comparison of multiple data s
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Contact: Zachary Rathner
Zachary.Rathner@oup.com
301-841-1286
Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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