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Cancer. 1985 Dec 1;56(11):2727-32.

The effects of symptoms and delay in seeking diagnosis on stage of disease at diagnosis among women with cancers of the ovary.


This study evaluated characteristics of symptoms, their perceived cause, and delay in seeking a diagnosis associated with stage, grade, and histologic features of disease at diagnosis among incident cancer cases of the ovary (N = 83) identified in the Iowa National Cancer Institute-Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results population-based cancer registry. Contrary to clinical impressions, most early-stage cancers produced symptoms and were more likely than late-stage cancers to cause fatigue and urination problems; however, only irregular menstrual cycles were more likely to convince these patients with early-stage cancers to seek a diagnosis. Late-stage cases were most often accompanied by abdominal pain and swelling, but only pain was likely to convince women to seek a diagnosis. There was no association between delay, perceived cause, or seriousness of symptoms with stage of disease at diagnosis. Women, particularly those with a medical history of high risk factors, should be made aware that apparently benign disease symptoms are characteristic of early ovarian cancer and that this tumor can be found early if they seek medical attention immediately.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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