As many women don’t know what the signs of ovarian cancer are, some often ignore red flag symptoms such as back pain and increased urination. While the screening for ovarian cancer might do more harm than good, scientists have found the questions that help detect ovarian cancer risk.
A study published in the September 2012 online issue of the Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology might just open the path for a more effective way of detecting ovarian cancer. U.S. researchers say that in only 2 minutes three questions could indicate a woman has ovarian cancer and rule out the patient’s risk of developing it.
Whereas the alternative to reducing the number of nearly 90,000 cases of gynecological cancers (including ovarian cancer) in the United States means screening all women, an ovarian cancer questionnaire does sound like a faster and healthier option. According to data from the National Cancer Institute, about 30,000 women die each year of one of the five gynecological cancers, where ovarian cancer is the deadliest.
The problem is that many women are not aware of the symptoms of the ovarian cancer and don’t seek care in due time. Many dismiss symptoms such as abdominal or pelvic pain, not eating normally or bloating to be common and don’t even think it might be ovarian cancer. But 57 percent of women in the early stage of ovarian cancer and 80 percent of women in the advanced ovarian cancer stage have these symptoms.
The two tests currently recommended for the detection of ovarian cancer, often tells women they have it when they don’t. Scientists behind the ovarian cancer questionnaire recommend against the CA-125 blood test and the ultrasound imaging saying two minutes answering questions would be more effective.
M. Robyn Andersen and a team of researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington conducted a study on 1,200 women. These women were given a 90-second questionnaire at their doctor’s office asking them about symptoms usually associated with ovarian cancer.
The women were asked if they have abdominal or pelvic pain, feel full quickly and are unable to eat normally, or if they feel bloated. While 1 in 20 women reported having these symptoms not all of them had ovarian cancer. Still 80 percent of the women with advanced ovarian cancer reported the same symptoms.