Abdominal symptoms are poor at predicting ovarian cancer, study finds

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 01 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c581
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

    Only one in every 100 women in the general population with persistent symptoms such as abdominal bloating and pain, which are being used in campaigns to trigger medical review for ovarian cancer, would go on to be diagnosed with the condition, says a study that questions the value of using this approach to improve early diagnosis.

    US cancer societies published a consensus in 2007 recommending that women who experienced certain symptoms almost daily for a few weeks should seek medical help, in efforts to diagnose ovarian cancer sooner and improve outcomes. The symptoms included bloating; pelvic, or abdominal pain; difficulty eating or feeling full quickly; and urinary urgency or frequency. Research has shown that these symptoms are more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than in the general population (

    To test the value of this approach in diagnosing ovarian cancer at an early stage, researchers interviewed 812 women with epithelial ovarian cancer diagnosed between 2002 …

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