Rebecca Stone, M.D., M.S. addresses some of the most common questions around ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatment such as what patient symptoms to look out for, what screening tests are available and when you should refer to a gynecologic oncologist.
To refer a patient, please call
410-955-8240. So the symptoms can be really subtle at first, uh symptoms like abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, maybe some urinary frequency. And because they're subtle and there are common symptoms that people have, they often go under recognized. And so I tell people that if you've been having a symptom, you know, every other day or even with a higher frequency or a symptom that's waking you up at night or that you're constantly worrying about that you need to be evaluated for it. Unfortunately, there is no effective screening test for ovarian cancer. And we've really failed to develop screening strategies for ovarian cancer for a number of reasons. The screening strategies that we've used to date have relied on things like ultrasound and blood tests like C A 1 25. But we're increasingly um coming to know that ovarian cancer probably doesn't by far and large, start in the ovary. At least the most common and deadly type rather starts in the fallopian tube. And the imaging modality that we've most commonly used for screening ultrasound does not image the fallopian tube. In fact, we don't have any medical grade imaging that images the fallopian tube and then blood tests really have been ineffective because ovarian cancer, at least in its earliest stages does not spread by way of the blood or hematogenous. And so, because we haven't been able to come up with an effective screening strategy, is all the more reason why we have to double down on prevention because many patients are delayed in symptom recognition and assessment. As soon as a patient has a known or suspected diagnosis of ovarian cancer, they should be referred to a G one oncologist. And that's because we know that outcomes specifically survival as well as the likelihood that a patient will receive standard of care is better in the hands of a G one oncologist.