Ovarian Answers Could Save Lives

One reason why ovarian cancer is such a threat is because its cunning nature makes it perilously difficult to detect. There are no excellent diagnostic screening tests and its telltale symptoms (such as a bloated abdomen) can mask as other ailments, meaning in more than 70 percent of cases it’s diagnosed in its late stages, when it tends to be more fatal.

But researchers affiliated with the Fred Hutchison Cancer Center in Seattle say a simple, three-question survey may alert doctors and patients that further screening for the disease is warranted. Indeed, it could save lives in a matter of seconds: By having women check off yes or no to questions about whether they are experiencing problems such as a feeling of fullness or a bloated abdomen, doctors may be alerted that women need to be screened more thoroughly for ovarian cancer. Researchers were able to diagnose using this method and had no false negatives in a small study, which was recently published in the Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.