Thursday, June 16, 2011

No Advantage for Screening Ovarian Cancer

There were 21,880 new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed in the United States in 2010 and it is the 5th leading cause of cancer death among women.   Women are understandably afraid of ovarian cancer because there are usually no early warning symptoms and when discovered,  the disease is often advanced, difficult to treat and highly lethal. A large and well run study, reported at the American Society of clinical Oncology 2011 Annual Meeting showed no advantage for screening for ovarian cancer in women.

We are so used to having screening tests to detect early cancer (prostate, breast, cervical, colorectal) that women expect screening for ovarian cancer also.  This trial has shown that screening by vaginal ultrasound and CA 125 blood test were ineffective for finding early tumors of the ovary.  Women screened annually and followed up for 13 years died in similar numbers from ovarian cancer as women who were not screened.  Additionally, the diagnostic follow up of false-positive screening results was dangerous and fraught with complications.

These discouraging findings point to the rapid progression of ovarian tumors.  Ovarian cancer screening did not reduce deaths among average-risk women.

The symptoms of ovarian cancer can be vague but women and their physicians should be aware of them:
  • pelvic pain
  • abdominal bloating and pressure
  • urinary urgency
  • fatigue
  • back pain
New and persistent symptoms should not be ignored.  Women with a family history of ovarian and breast cancer need to be especially vigilant and genetic testing can be performed to assess the risk and give important information to women about their risk.

A few other tidbits for women to know.  Oral contraceptives do not increase the risk of ovarian cancer and in fact,  the use of birth control pills may confer a 40-50% reduction advantage for women.  Low fat diets and exercise may also help prevent ovarian cancer by keeping body mass index (BMI) under 25.

Women who have children before age 30 and breast feed also have less ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cysts are common in menstruating women and they are not associated with ovarian cancer.

Over 50% of all ovarian cancers occur in women older than age 65.

For past EverythingHealth post on ovarian cancer and fertility drugs go here

8 comments:

Ovarian cancer treatment Mexico said...

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Dr. Paula said...

Thanks for this great reminder for women to pay attention to changes in their bodies which may be early warning signs of ovarian cancer. Another study showed that 90% of women with ovarian cancer do have symptoms that they ignore or sadly that their physicians do no aggressively evaluate.

Women who undergo infertility teatments, especially in vitro fertilization, are at increased risk for ovarian cancer because of "super ovulation"

I am a survivor of ovarian cancer which I diagnosed myself at stage 1A by paying attention to one minor symptom.

London escorts said...

Ovarian cancer is cancer that starts in the ovaries. Ovarian cancer actually represents a group of different tumors. Ovarian cancer usually happens in women over age 50, but it can also affect younger women.

iReign said...

Other symptoms are feeling full soon after eating and skinny (compressed) stools (because tumors are pressing on the stomach and colon).

r4i sdhc said...

Ovarian cancer is a scary diagnosis. ovarian cancer is hard to detect early. Cancer occurs when cells undergo a transformation and begin to grow and multiply without normal controls.

la tienda erotica said...

The chap is completely right, and there's no skepticism.

exposicion muebles madrid said...

Very helpful info, much thanks for your post.

r4i said...

Ovarian cancer is a very bad version of cancer, my sympathies to anyone affected by it.