This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
Ovarian cancer is known as a "silent killer" because it is usually discovered
too late to save a woman's life. But three cancer groups in the United States
have now agreed on a list of possible early signs of the disease.
statement is the first of its kind to recognize what ovarian cancer survivors
have long believed: that there are common symptoms. Researchers have found that
these symptoms are more likely to happen in women with ovarian cancer than women
One symptom is bloating, or expansion of the abdomen area. Pain in the
abdomen or the pelvis can be another symptom. Also, researchers say women with
early-stage ovarian cancer may urinate more often or with greater urgency. And
the statement says another common symptom is difficulty eating or feeling full
Women who have these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks are
advised to see a gynecologist or other doctor.
The cancer can affect one or both ovaries, the organs that produce eggs.
Doctors say the main ways to find the disease early are recognizing the symptoms
and getting a combination pelvic and rectal examination.
Ovarian cancer kills more than 100,000 women around the world
each year. In the United States, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of
cancer deaths in women. Cancer experts predict that at least 15,000 women will
die of it this year. And more than 22,000 new cases will be found.
The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation led the effort for the agreement on common
symptoms. The American Cancer Society and the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists
also were involved. And a number of other cancer groups have expressed support
for the statement.
Doctor Barbara Goff at the University of Washington in Seattle was a lead
investigator of several studies that gave support to the new list. She says most
of the time a woman with these symptoms will not have ovarian cancer. But the
disease can spread quickly to nearby organs.
A few months can mean life or death. Doctor Goff notes that the disease
is 90 percent curable when found in its earliest form.
And that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. For
a link to the full statement, and for more news about health and science, go to
voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Barbara Klein.