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June 9, 2004

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer—Where to Set the Bar?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pa.

JAMA. 2004;291(22):2755-2756. doi:10.1001/jama.291.22.2755

Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from a gynecologic malignancy among women in the United States and the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among women overall after lung, breast, colorectal, and pancreatic.1 Every year, approximately 23 000 women are diagnosed as having ovarian cancer and 14 000 women die of the disease.2 One reason for the relatively high case-fatality rate is failure to identify early stage disease. While cure rates for early stage disease approach 90%, the overwhelming majority of women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed during stage III or stage IV, when cure rates are low. The failure to detect early stage disease has been attributed to inadequate screening tools and lack of early clinical symptoms.3

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