September Is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

If you caught Dr. Trupin on the Morning Show on WCIA-TV, back in September of 2012, you would have heard that September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and it is felt that awareness can help conquer ovarian cancer. Each year there are 21,000 women diagnosed and 14,000 women who succumb to ovarian cancer. So seeing your physician to try to reduce your risk of ovarian cancer is an important way to honor Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.  Yet this is what you should not do: ovarian cancer screening if you have no risk factors and no symptoms.  A reported in Ob Gyn News: In the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial, a randomized, controlled trial of 78,216 women in the United States, there was no significant difference in the number of ovarian cancer cases diagnosed in women randomized to annual screening vs. usual care (212 vs. 176) over 13 years. However, just to be clear those with risk factors do need to be screened; and those with symptoms need to be even more closely watched. The report in Ob Gyn News points out that too much screening can cost women healthy ovaries, and that would not be a benefit. They reported the Shizuoka Cohort Study of Ovarian Cancer Screening, suggested that approximately 33 surgeries would be needed to diagnose 1 case of ovarian cancer detected by routine screening. More data are pending from an ongoing trial, the U.K. Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS). We use transvaginal pelvic ultrasound combined with CA-125 as the screening tool of choice, for women who are positive for BRCA 1/2 or who have risk based on other family history.  All these recommendations have been changing slowly. We know that fertility drugs can cause slight risk, but most women are not told to worry about the amount of extra ovarian cancer risk from fertility drug treatments. American Cancer Society and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend screening high risk women, and women and their health care providers should continue to watch the recommendations so that we can better define who might be a high risk woman.

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