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Prev Med Rep. 2016 Feb 2;3:234-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.01.011. eCollection 2016 Jun.

Intended care seeking for ovarian cancer symptoms among U.S. women.

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Soltera Center for Cancer Prevention and Control, Tucson, AZ 85704, USA.
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.


To investigate U.S. women's intended care seeking for symptoms associated with ovarian cancer, data from the 2012 HealthStyles Fall survey of U.S. adults were examined. Analyses were limited to women with no history of gynecologic cancer (N = 1726). Logistic regression models for intended care seeking within 2 weeks of symptom onset were developed. A minority of women recognized that unexplained pelvic or abdominal pain (29.9%), unexplained bloating (18.1%), and feeling full after eating a small amount of food (10.1%) can indicate ovarian cancer, and 31.1% mistakenly believed that the Papanicolaou (Pap) test screens for the disease. In the multivariate regression models, the most consistent, significant predictors (p < 0.01) of intended care seeking within 2 weeks of symptom onset were age (older women were more likely to seek care) and awareness that symptoms could signal ovarian cancer. Care seeking in response to ovarian cancer symptoms may be delayed among younger women and those who do not recognize the potential significance of symptoms. Raising awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms may promote early detection. However, educational efforts should emphasize that symptoms associated with ovarian cancer may also result from benign conditions.


Awareness; Care seeking; Early detection of cancer; Ovarian cancer; Symptoms

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