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Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer Study

by Brian Whitlock, MS & Cheryl Crichley, BA

The Oklahoma University Medical Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the prevalence of symptoms suggestive of ovarian cancer in a cross-section of women age 40 and older. The study is designed to develop a tool to distinguish which women require further diagnostic testing. We hope that the use of this tool will lead to a greater proportion of women identified with early stage disease thereby increasing survival rates. The study is based on the belief that there are unique symptoms related to ovarian cancer. The results of this investigation will be used to produce an assessment tool that will allow clinicians and patients to determine the need for diagnostic tests such as transvaginal ultrasound and CA 125 for early detection of ovarian cancer.

By use of a questionnaire, the study compares symptoms that occur in women 40 years and older fro three different populations, which include:

Group A - Women who have been identified at being at risk for ovarian cancer and have been scheduled for surgery to evaluate an adnexal mass.

Group B - Women from the general population who are not currently seeking medical attention.

Group C - Women who have accessed the health care system through physician groups at the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center

The goals of the study are to collect 300 questionnaires from Group A, 1,000 from Group B, and 300 from Group C. At this time, the researchers have obtained 42 surveys within Group A, 255 from Group B, and 49 from Group C. We believe that the data will be collected by summer 2003, and ready for statistical analysis.

It is hoped that the results of this study will lead to early detection and therefore a better prognosis for women with ovarian cancer. If you have female family members or friends over 40 that would like to participate in the survey, please have them contact Cheryl Crichley at OUHSC (405-271-8001 x 48264). We would also like to than Barbara Scheirman who has been particularly effective in getting people to complete the survey...what a way to help the next generation of women.

30 January 2003