Recognise early symptoms of ovarian cancer

Last Updated: Saturday, September 17, 2011 - 19:08

Washington: A new study led by an Indian-origin researcher has claimed that recognising early symptoms of ovarian cancer can assist in early detection of the disease.

Diljeet Singh, MD and co-director of the Ovarian Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, says that the best defense against ovarian cancer is to make use of preventive methods, understand the risks and recognize potential warning signs of the cancer.

“Currently, there is no reliable screening test to identify early ovarian cancer. Women need to focus on good health habits, listen to their bodies and tell their doctor if a change occurs,” he said.

Catching ovarian cancer early increases five-year survival odds from 30 percent to more than 90 percent, but the symptoms of ovarian cancer often mimic other less dangerous conditions making it difficult to recognize them.

Dr Singh says that the frequency and number of symptoms is important and women who experience a combination of these symptoms almost daily for two to three weeks should consult their doctor.

Doctors say it is not clear what causes ovarian cancer but there are factors that increase the odds of developing the disease including carrying a mutation of the BRCA gene, having a personal history of breast cancer or a family history of ovarian cancer, being over the age of 45 or being obese.

If a woman is at a high-risk, then doctors recommend them to begin screening at the age 20 to 25, or five to 10 years earlier than the youngest age of diagnosis in the family, whereas genetic tests available that can also identify women who are at a substantially increased risk.


First Published: Saturday, September 17, 2011 - 19:08

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