A majority of cancer in women can be detected early if the early symptoms are not neglected and the right tests be ordered to diagnose the aggressiveness of the fast growing tumor.
Elderly women with ovarian cancer are twice as likely to visit a doctor and report symptoms such as abdominal swelling or pelvic pain. If these symptoms are taken into careful consideration, ovarian cancer could be detected much early.
While abdominal pain and swelling are not always symptoms of ovarian cancer, the disease is especially deadly because it usually is diagnosed after it has spread. It is a tumor that grows quickly, progressing from early to advanced stages in as little time as a year, so speedy diagnosis is key.
It can be diagnosed with pelvic imaging, or a blood test for a protein called CA-125, although neither of these tests will detect all cases of ovarian cancer. The CA-125 test catches about half of early, Stage I ovarian cancers and is inadequate when used alone to diagnose early ovarian cancer. For patients with later, Stage II, III or IV disease, the test is 80 percent accurate in detecting cancer.
Another 20 percent of ovarian cancer patients never have increased CA-125. Only 25% of the ovarian cancer patients had pelvic imaging or CA-125 tests between three years and four months before diagnosis.
Moreover, it has been found that nearly 40 % of the women had multiple visits for abdominal or pelvic symptoms before their ovarian cancer was diagnosed. These figures only indicate the need for more awareness campaigns and prompt screening camps for cancer in women.