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Ovarian cancer is a 'not so silent killer'

26th August 2009

Ovarian cancer should not be known as a silent killer, according to scientists from the University of Bristol.

The condition has historically been regarded as having few symptoms, despite being responsible for four per cent of all cancers in women.

But new research published in the British Medical Journal has shown that many women with ovarian cancer report their symptoms to primary care practitioners months before diagnosis.

Current guidelines recommend 'urgent investigation' of abnormal vaginal bleeding and palpable masses, although these are not mandatory.

But the findings show that although these symptoms are common, they often go unrecognised by women and doctors.

Other symptoms include pelvic pain, abnormal distension and abdominal pain.

The study was based on the diagnosis of 212 women over 40 years of age who had been diagnosed with primary ovarian cancer.

Scientists from the University of Texas recently developed a treatment method they claim successfully targets protein in ovarian cancer cells.

The findings are published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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