A new study says that symptoms associated with ovarian cancer start much earlier before the diagnosis is made and being alert to these symptoms could make a huge difference in the rapid treatment of the cancer. Ovarian cancer is more curable if detected early enough.
The study team led by Dr. Lloyd H. Smith from the University of California Davis Health System in Sacramento says that their observations 'provide objective evidence that patients with ovarian cancer, as a group, are distinguishable symptomatically from controls at least 6 months prior to diagnosis.'
The team monitored the pattern of appearance of the symptoms like abdominal bloating and pain, and the associated diagnostic tests in 1,900 with Ovarian cancer and 6,000 women with breast cancer, and 11,000 women without cancer. The team arrived at the conclusion that women with ovarian cancer were more likely to have 'target symptoms' like the abdominal pain and bloating around six months before the diagnosis was confirmed. The team also found that abdominal imaging and pelvic imaging with CA125 testing was common around 3 months before diagnosis, but the same was lacking 4 to 36 months prior to diagnosis. CA125 is a protein whose levels are increased in ovarian cancer. 'Our findings suggest that ovarian cancer could be diagnosed earlier in some patients whose diagnosis is currently delayed by at least 4 months, because physicians order abdominal imaging or perform gastrointestinal procedures before they order a test that is more likely to diagnose ovarian cancer, such as pelvic imaging and/or CA125,' the authors conclude. The details of the study are published in the October 1 issue of the journal Cancer.