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Simple ovarian cancer symptom survey that checks for 6 warning signs may improve early detection
Date:9/21/2012

determine whether they are current, of recent onset and occur frequently," said lead author M. Robyn Andersen, Ph.D., a member of the Hutchinson Center's Public Health Sciences Division. Previous research by Andersen and colleagues has found that about 60 percent of women with early-stage ovarian cancer and 80 percent of women with advanced disease report symptoms that follow this distinctive pattern at the time of diagnosis.

"Women with symptoms that are frequent, continual and new to them in the past year should talk to their doctor, as they may be candidates for further evaluation with ultrasound and blood tests that measure markers of ovarian cancer such as CA-125," she said. "Recent research indicates that approximately one in 140 women with symptoms may have ovarian cancer. Aggressive follow-up of these symptoms can lead to diagnosis when ovarian cancer can be caught earlier and more effectively treated."

The study involved 1,200 women, age 40 to 87, who were seen in a Seattle women's health clinic. More than half of the study participants reported being postmenopausal and approximately 90 percent were white. About half of the clinic visits were for a current health concern or for follow-up of a health problem reported at an earlier visit. The other half were for routine appointments such as mammography screening.

Of those surveyed, 5 percent had a positive symptom score that indicated the need for further testing. Of this group of about 60 women, one was diagnosed with ovarian cancer shortly thereafter. Of the 95 percent of women who tested negative on the symptom survey, none developed ovarian cancer during a 12-month follow-up period, which attests to the accuracy of the screening tool.

Those who reported current symptoms on the questionnaire or reported other medical concerns scored higher than those who did not. Non-white women were a
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Contact: Kristen Woodward
kwoodwar@fhcrc.org
206-667-5095
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Source:Eurekalert

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