Ovarian cancer

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

This Wednesday was World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day. Ovarian cancer is the fifth-leading cause of cancer death in women.

Unlike breast or cervical cancer, there is no effective screening test for ovarian cancer. Too often, the diagnosis is made at an advanced stage, when the chance of a cure is limited.

Education and awareness of symptoms allow some women with ovarian cancer to seek medical care at a curable stage. Symptoms commonly experienced include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary symptoms. Persistence of symptoms over several weeks should prompt evaluation, and if diagnosed with ovarian cancer, promptly see a specialist in women's reproductive cancer.

Continued support for cancer research is vital to develop new treatments and discover the underlying causes of cancer. Funding cuts mandated by the federal budget sequester already threaten the ability of our doctors to diagnose and treat cancer patients in Utah.

Spread the word and support local fundraising efforts. Early diagnosis and treatment save lives. It saved mine!

Janice L.B. Byrne, M.D. Associate professor, maternal-fetal medicine, University of Utah

Salt Lake City