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Checking up on patient experiences with ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is known to be the deadliest gynecologic cancer. But are women - and their specialist providers - getting the message about early diagnosis and proper treatment?

A new report issued by the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance in partnership with patient and caregiver community advocacy group Inspire looks to patients' experiences for insight. In "Patient Perspectives on Ovarian Cancer," the two authoring organizations analyze results from 1,014 women who participated in a recent survey and compared them with results from a similar survey in 2007. Although the authors found signs that women were being diagnosed more rapidly now than six years ago, some women are still disadvantaged by lack of access to, or knowledge about receiving, proper care. "We hope this survey can be a stepping stone for further research that can lead to better outcomes for women," Calaneet Balas, CEO of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, noted.

From the organization's press release:

Respondents generally reported that they were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in a short time. Most received care that follows current recommendations, including treatment by a gynecologic oncologist (a specialist in women’s reproductive cancers) and surgery followed by six rounds of chemotherapy. Top line results from the survey include the following:

  • 50.00% of respondents were diagnosed less than a month after they sought medical attention, an improvement over the 40% of women in a similar survey conducted by the Alliance in 2007.
  • Most women saw just one (34.77%) or two (39.56%) doctors prior to being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
  • 80.42% of respondents were told that the standard treatment for ovarian cancer is surgery followed by six rounds of chemotherapy, and 72.8% reported receiving such treatment.
  • For women who did not receive treatment from a gynecologic oncologist, the most common reason was not knowing that this was recommended (34.04%), followed by inability to travel to see a specialist (11.70%).

Previously: Frontiers in the fight against ovarian cancerOvarian cancer biomarkers may enable personalized treatment, say Stanford scientistsStanford expert weighs in on ovarian-cancer screening recommendation and Doctors: Please have “ears that hear”

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