A new study has found that more women than ever are now surviving ovarian cancer. The researchers say that one in three (1 in 3) women survive the disease for ten (10) years or more.
This is a welcoming change as ovarian cancer used to be notorious for being detected too late and killing many patients.
Rosemary Cress, epidemiologist and associate professor from the University of California (Davis), the department of public health sciences, gave a statement saying that her and her colleagues “think that this is good information to communicate to women newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer”.
She went on to add that ovarian cancer is still dangerous, but that there is a considerable variability, and the disease is not always fatal.
For the study, professor Cress and her colleagues looked at the cases of 11.000 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the state of California between the years of 1994 and 2001. They then tracked their survival information from 2001 to 2011.
When the researchers compared women who lived with the disease for ten (10) years or more to women to women who survived for fewer years, they noticed that factors such as being younger, having the cancer detected in an early stage, and having a low-grade tumor, all contributed to a patient’s chances of living a longer life.
Michael Bookman, medical gynecologic oncologist from Arizona Oncology and the US Oncology Research’s director of the gynecologic oncology research, gave a statement of his own informing that “Some of these factors are known to be inter-related”. For instance, younger women typically have low-grade tumors.
He also pointed out another important factor that patients and doctors need to keep in mid – how much of the cancer still remains after a patient undergoes initial surgery.
However, Cress and her colleagues found that some of the patients who lived longer lives were diagnosed with high-risk cancer. In fact, 954 of the 3.600 long-term survivors had high-risk cancer and were expected to experience an earlier death due to having an older age or having an advanced stage of cancer.
What’s more, older patients are generally given fewer chances of surviving long-term because they’re also likely to suffer from other chronic health issues.
Unfortunately, the research team also noted the long-tern survival is not without its costs. Many of the patients develop fatigue, anxiety or social issues, and Susan Chinn, an eight (8) year survivor of ovarian cancer, admitted to feeling crushing depression for several months after receiving her diagnostic.
Cress shared that more targeted chemotherapy and better surgical treatment may also contribute to the long-term survival, but the results were inconclusive.
The American Cancer Society informs that about 21.000 women in the country will most likely be diagnosed with ovarian cancer by the end on 2015, and roughly 14.000 of them are expected to die from the disease. Ninety percent (90%) of all ovarian cancer patients are over the age of 60.
Symptoms of the disease include pain or pressure in the pelvic region, abnormal vaginal bleeding, feeling full after small meals, and experiencing a chance in your bathroom habits.
The study was published earlier this month, in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
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