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Ovarian Ca symptom survey

A 'symptom survey' can provide GPs with a quick and effective screening tool for diagnosing ovarian cancer, researchers

suggest.

Their study, published online by the journal Cancer, found the frequency and duration of a

specific set of symptoms was enough to pick out ovarian cancer from other conditions.

Study leader Dr Barbara Goff, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Washington, US, said the 'relatively simple evaluation of symptoms' was sufficient for screening. The study assessed the effectiveness for diagnosis of any complaint of pelvic or abdominal pain, bloating, difficulty eating or a feeling of fullness that was present more than 12 days per month and for less than a year.

The combination was 57 per cent sensitive for early ovarian cancer and 80 per cent sensitive for advanced disease in women over 50. It was 90 per cent specific in the over-50s and 87 per cent specific in under-50s.

Dr Murray Freeman, cancer lead for Wirral PCT and a GP in Birkenhead, Merseyside, said: 'I can see the benefit of two or three questions and if there's evidence for that, then great. My reservations would be whether they also apply to

other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, as well.'

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