Many Women Have Not Heard of Ovarian Cancer Before Diagnosis

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Nine in 10 women experience multiple symptoms prediagnosis; 8 in 10 of them consult a doctor.
Nine in 10 women experience multiple symptoms prediagnosis; 8 in 10 of them consult a doctor.

HealthDay News — Many women are not knowledgeable about ovarian cancer before diagnosis despite most women experiencing prediagnosis symptoms, according to a report published online Oct. 18 by the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition.

Researchers surveyed 1531 women in 44 countries between March and May 2018 to examine the experiences of women with ovarian cancer. Clinician interviews were conducted among 37 clinicians in 15 countries.

According to the report, more than two-thirds of women had not heard of ovarian cancer or knew nothing about it before diagnosis; this number varied widely between countries. Regardless of stage of diagnosis or type of ovarian cancer, 9 in 10 women experienced multiple symptoms before diagnosis. Of these women, 8 in 10 consulted a doctor about symptoms; the time to do so varied, and less than half saw a doctor within a month. Clinicians believed that delays in diagnosis could be reduced and that lack of awareness contributed to these delays. Eighty percent of women with 2 or more relatives with ovarian cancer had not had genetic testing before diagnosis. Not receiving genetic testing after diagnosis could mean women are missing out on new targeted treatments.

"It is vital that urgent steps are taken in every country to raise awareness of the disease and speed up diagnosis so that we can transform the outlook for the increasing numbers of women and their families affected by ovarian cancer," Anwen Jones, co-chair of the Every Woman Study, said in a statement.

Translation of the Every Woman Study Women's Survey was funded by pharmaceutical companies.

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