Reduction in diagnosis time of ovarian cancer does not improve the future health outcomes, found in a recent study.
The study by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) and National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre (NBOCC) dispels the idea that a faster diagnoses of the disease means a higher survival rate.
"It is widely assumed that if we could diagnose ovarian cancer more quickly, it would be detected at an earlier stage and survival rates would improve," Dr Penny Webb, Head of QIMR's Gynaecological Cancers Laboratory, said.
"However, our study of more than 1,400 Australian women diagnosed with ovarian cancer suggests that this may not be the case.
"The results of this study suggest that once a woman experiences symptoms, the timing of the diagnosis does not alter the stage of the disease or lead to better survival," she said.
Women who participated in the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study were asked to report the events leading to their diagnosis of ovarian cancer, including the date they first experienced symptoms and when they went to a doctor.
"However, the results also raise the possibility that if ovarian cancers could be detected before they cause symptoms, then survival outcomes for women might be improved," Webb said.
"This makes it even more important to continue our research and improve our understanding of the factors that play a role in the development of this disease," she stated.
The symptoms of ovarian cancer include abdominal pain and bloating, changes in toilet habits, unexplained changes in weight and fatigue.
Ovarian cancer affects around 1,200 women in Australia each year.
About two-thirds of women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed with advanced stage disease and overall survival is poor with only about 40 percent of women surviving more than five years.
The study will be published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.