A new study conducted by doctors suggests that ultrasound outperforms symptom analysis when it comes to detecting ovarian cancer among women.
The researchers at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center-Markey Cancer Center selected 272 women participating in annual trans-vaginal screening (TVS) from 31,748 women enrolled in a free screening project at the university, and compared symptom results to ultrasound and surgical pathology findings.
The team observed that TVS performed better than symptoms analysis for detecting malignancies-73.3 per cent versus 20 per cent sensitivity.
While symptoms analysis performed better for distinguishing benign tumors (91.3% versus 74.4% specificity), adding symptom analysis to TVS actually resulted in poorer identification of malignancy (sensitivity = 16.7%), even as it improved the ability to distinguish benign tumors (specificity = 97.9%).
The researchers say that their observations suggest that even though symptoms do identify ovarian malignancies, they are not as accurate as TVS.
They add that informative symptoms can be expected to be absent in 80 per cent of ovarian malignancies.
A research article describing the study has been published in the online edition of the journal CANCER.