Ovarian Cancer: Symptoms and Presentation

  • Barbara GoffEmail author


The incidence of ovarian cancer increases with age however there is no screening protocol that has been shown to reduce the morbidity or mortality from ovarian cancer. Currently the best way to make a diagnosis of ovarian cancer is for clinicians to have a high index of suspicion in a symptomatic patient. As a result, delays in diagnosis are very common. The symptoms that are most commonly associated with ovarian cancer include bloating, abdominal or pelvic pain, difficulty eating and feeling full quickly. Symptoms that are of recent onset (6–12 months), that occur more than 12 times month and have persisted fort least 2–3 weeks are most concerning. Recently the development of a symptom index which takes into account the type of symptom, duration and frequency has been shown to have a sensitivity of 70% and a specificity of 80%. Symptoms in elderly women are no different than younger women and the symptom index has a higher sensitivity and specificity in older women. Currently symptoms are being evaluated as a possible low cost method for early detection of ovarian cancer.


Ovarian cancer Cancer symptoms Abdominal pain Diagnosis Screening 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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