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Identifying symptoms of ovarian cancer: a qualitative and quantitative study.
BJOG 2008; 115(8):1008-14BJOG

Abstract

INTRODUCTION

Symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague and consequently a high proportion of women with ovarian cancer are not referred to the appropriate clinic.

OBJECTIVE

To identify diagnostic factors for ovarian cancer.

DESIGN

A qualitative and quantitative study.

SETTING

Four UK hospitals.

SAMPLE

One hundred and twenty-four women referred to hospital with suspected ovarian malignancy.

METHODS

Women were interviewed prior to diagnosis (n = 63), or soon after. A thematic analysis was conducted. Emergent symptoms were quantitatively analysed to identify distinguishing features of ovarian cancer.

MAIN OUTCOMES

Symptoms in women with and without ovarian cancer.

RESULTS

Diagnoses comprised 44 malignancies, 59 benign gynaecological pathologies and 21 normal findings. Of the malignancies, 25 women had stage III or more disease, with an average age of 59 years. The benign/normal cohort was significantly younger (48 years). Multivariate analysis revealed persistent abdominal distension (OR 5.2, 95% CI 1.3-20.5), postmenopausal bleeding (OR 9.2, 95% CI 1.1-76.1), appetite loss (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.1-9.2), early satiety (OR 5.0, 95% CI 1.6-15.7) and progressive symptoms (OR 3.6, 95% CI 1.3-9.8) as independent, statistically significant variables associated with ovarian cancer. Fluctuating distension was not associated with ovarian cancer (OR 0.4, 95% CI 0-4.1). Women frequently used the term bloating, but this represented two distinct events: persistent abdominal distension and fluctuating distension/discomfort.

CONCLUSIONS

Ovarian cancer is not a silent killer. Clinicians should distinguish between persistent and fluctuating distension. Recognition of the significance of symptoms described by women could lead to earlier and more appropriate referral.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Cancer Research UK Primary Care Education Research Group, University of Oxford, Headington, Oxford, UK. clare.bankhead@dphpc.ox.ac.ukNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Multicenter Study
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

18651882

Citation

Bankhead, C R., et al. "Identifying Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer: a Qualitative and Quantitative Study." BJOG : an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, vol. 115, no. 8, 2008, pp. 1008-14.
Bankhead CR, Collins C, Stokes-Lampard H, et al. Identifying symptoms of ovarian cancer: a qualitative and quantitative study. BJOG. 2008;115(8):1008-14.
Bankhead, C. R., Collins, C., Stokes-Lampard, H., Rose, P., Wilson, S., Clements, A., ... Austoker, J. (2008). Identifying symptoms of ovarian cancer: a qualitative and quantitative study. BJOG : an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 115(8), pp. 1008-14. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2008.01772.x.
Bankhead CR, et al. Identifying Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer: a Qualitative and Quantitative Study. BJOG. 2008;115(8):1008-14. PubMed PMID: 18651882.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Identifying symptoms of ovarian cancer: a qualitative and quantitative study. AU - Bankhead,C R, AU - Collins,C, AU - Stokes-Lampard,H, AU - Rose,P, AU - Wilson,S, AU - Clements,A, AU - Mant,D, AU - Kehoe,S T, AU - Austoker,J, PY - 2008/7/25/pubmed PY - 2008/9/16/medline PY - 2008/7/25/entrez SP - 1008 EP - 14 JF - BJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology JO - BJOG VL - 115 IS - 8 N2 - INTRODUCTION: Symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague and consequently a high proportion of women with ovarian cancer are not referred to the appropriate clinic. OBJECTIVE: To identify diagnostic factors for ovarian cancer. DESIGN: A qualitative and quantitative study. SETTING: Four UK hospitals. SAMPLE: One hundred and twenty-four women referred to hospital with suspected ovarian malignancy. METHODS: Women were interviewed prior to diagnosis (n = 63), or soon after. A thematic analysis was conducted. Emergent symptoms were quantitatively analysed to identify distinguishing features of ovarian cancer. MAIN OUTCOMES: Symptoms in women with and without ovarian cancer. RESULTS: Diagnoses comprised 44 malignancies, 59 benign gynaecological pathologies and 21 normal findings. Of the malignancies, 25 women had stage III or more disease, with an average age of 59 years. The benign/normal cohort was significantly younger (48 years). Multivariate analysis revealed persistent abdominal distension (OR 5.2, 95% CI 1.3-20.5), postmenopausal bleeding (OR 9.2, 95% CI 1.1-76.1), appetite loss (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.1-9.2), early satiety (OR 5.0, 95% CI 1.6-15.7) and progressive symptoms (OR 3.6, 95% CI 1.3-9.8) as independent, statistically significant variables associated with ovarian cancer. Fluctuating distension was not associated with ovarian cancer (OR 0.4, 95% CI 0-4.1). Women frequently used the term bloating, but this represented two distinct events: persistent abdominal distension and fluctuating distension/discomfort. CONCLUSIONS: Ovarian cancer is not a silent killer. Clinicians should distinguish between persistent and fluctuating distension. Recognition of the significance of symptoms described by women could lead to earlier and more appropriate referral. SN - 1471-0528 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/18651882/Identifying_symptoms_of_ovarian_cancer:_a_qualitative_and_quantitative_study_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-0528.2008.01772.x DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -