From the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif.
This year 25400 women will be told that they have ovarian cancer. Over
the next 3 to 5 years 14500 of them will die from their disease.1 Although these statistics are disturbing, they do
not provide a complete image of what this truly means in terms of human suffering.
Most of these women will undergo several major surgeries, multiple courses
of chemotherapy treatment with their associated toxic effects, and several
bouts of bowel dysfunction. They also will endure the psychological trauma
of battling cancer before they die of their disease. In nearly every case,
this morbidity and mortality are the result of a late diagnosis, with more
than 50% of these women already having advanced to stage III or IV at the
first physical signs of disease. An estimated 90% of these women (at least
13100) might be spared all of this, with no change in conventional therapy,
if only their diagnoses could be made at an early preclinical stage.
Roberts JA. Searching for a Biomarker for Ovarian Cancer. JAMA. 1998;280(8):739. doi:10.1001/jama.280.8.739