Simple Two Minute Questionaire May Lead to Better Early Detection for Ovarian Cancer

A report in the Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that a simple three question paper and pencil survey,  given in the doctor’s office and taking less than 2 minutes can effectively identify those women who experience symptoms that may indicate ovarian cancer. Questions were asked about the frequency  and duration of the following three symptoms: abdominal or pelvic pain, feeling full quickly and/or unable to eat normally, and abdominal bloating and/or increased abdominal size.

1200 women, age 40 to 87 were included in the sample and more than half reported being post-menopausal and about 90% were white. About half of the sample had been seen for routine care such as mammography and the other half were seen for current health concerns or follow up of earlier health problems. Five percent of the sample had positive scores on the test indicating a need for follow up. Of this group of 60 women one was with ovarian cancer shortly thereafter. Of the 95% of women who tested negative on the test, none developed ovarian cancer over the next twelve months. The authors said “Women with symptoms that are frequent, continual and new to them in the past year should talk to their doctor, as they may be candidates for further evaluation with ultrasound and blood tests that measure markers of ovarian cancer such as CA-125. ” Recent research indicates that approximately one in 140 women with symptoms may have ovarian canccder. Aggressive follow-up of these symptoms can lead to diagnosis when ovarian cancer can be caught earlier and more effectively treated.”

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