About 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer are reported each year in the U.S., compared with more than 250,000 cases of invasive breast cancer. While that makes ovarian cancer relatively rare, it remains the deadliest form of gynecologic cancer. More than 14,000 American women die from it annually -- partly because there is no good screening test for the disease.
“The CA-125 blood test and ultrasound scans have been studied as possible ways to screen for ovarian cancer,” said Andrew Berchuck, MD, a gynecologic cancer specialist with Duke.“ But even though they can detect some cases, they haven’t been shown to reduce a woman’s chance of dying from the disease.”
While ovarian cancer is often called a “silent killer,” there are some symptoms. Research has found women with advanced and early-stage ovarian cancer shared some or all of these symptoms:
- Pelvic and abdominal pain
- Increased abdomen size
- Abdominal bloating or swelling
- Difficulty eating
- Feeling full quickly after eating
Women who experience any of these symptoms for 12 or more days in a month should contact their primary care doctor. Most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are post-menopausal; the median age at diagnosis is 63.