Symptom List Helps ID Ovarian Cancer
Researchers Say Awareness of 6 Symptoms Could Help Identify Women at Risk
WebMD News Archive
Misdiagnosis Is Common
While other researchers are working to develop a more sensitive screening
test for early-stage ovarian cancer, all agree that such a test is years
Ovarian cancer survivor Sherry Salway Black tells WebMD that greater
awareness of symptoms is critical because patients who have early-stage disease
are still routinely misdiagnosed.
"Many women end up seeing gastroenterologists who often diagnose
irritable bowel," she says.
Black, who is executive director of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance,
was luckier than most patients. Her ovarian cancer was diagnosed early, but
even she was initially told her symptoms were nothing to be concerned
"I was 48 when I was diagnosed, and I was told at first that my symptoms
were probably related to menopause," she
says. "[The symptoms] went away and then came back again, and I knew it
She says all women need to know the symptoms of ovarian cancer and their own
specific risk factors. They also have to be vigilant about seeking an accurate
diagnosis when they feel something is wrong.
If a pelvic examination, imaging test, or other test suggests ovarian
cancer, it is time to see a specialist, Black says.
Women with late-stage ovarian cancer are surviving longer than ever because
of treatment advances pioneered by gynecologic oncologists.
"We are seeing better outcomes in women treated by specialists," she