7 Clues to Ovarian Cancer
Researchers Find 7 Symptoms Linked With Ovarian Cancer, Dispelling ‘Silent Killer’ Reputation
Ovarian Cancer Symptoms: Other Opinions
The study results add to several other studies also finding that ovarian
cancer isn't as "silent" as experts thought, says Andrew Li, MD, a gynecologic
oncologist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles. "I think this
reinforces what a lot of other studies have shown, that there are symptoms of
ovarian cancer, and that patients and physicians should be aware of them."
Although Hamilton's team found three symptoms to be present more than six
months before diagnosis of ovarian cancer, Li says the clinical picture he
encounters with his patients is typically different. ''Patients are in their
usual state of health and in a three- or four-week period, they develop these
symptoms -- mostly the three [pain, distension, and frequency]."
In an editorial accompanying the study, researcher Joan Austoker of the
University of Oxford notes that the overall five-year survival rate from
ovarian cancer is poor, about 30% to 40%. That increases to more than 70% for
women diagnosed early, she notes, but currently just one-fifth of patients are
The abdominal distension symptom, she concludes, warrants urgent
Ovarian Cancer Symptoms: Advice
If a woman has abdominal distension, Hamilton suggests asking the doctor for
a thorough examination, a transvaginal ultrasound, and a blood test for CA
"The scan is very accurate, but CA 125 somewhat less so, in that the blood
test misses some cancers," he says.
An estimated 21,550 women in the U.S. will learn they have ovarian cancer in
2009, according to the American Cancer Society. About 14,600 are expected to
die from the disease.