Researchers identify ovarian cancer symptoms

Doctors hope to save more lives with a new prescription for detecting one of the deadliest cancers.

For the first time researchers have agreed on tell tale signs for ovarian cancer.   Those signs could give doctors a running start in catching this silent killer.  You can screen for breast and colon cancer, but try asking for an ovarian cancer screening. "We've never found any way truly effectively to screen for ovarian cancer," admits Dr. Rusty Robinson, a gynecological oncologist at the Harrington Cancer Center.

But now doctors have found somewhat of a symptom screening. Bloating, adominal pain, problems eating, and frequent urination... if you have any of these symptoms for more than three weeks, experts suggest you see your gynecologist.

Doctors hope a more aggressive vigilance for the disease will keep ovarian cancer from slipping by unnoticed until it's too late.  "Not alot of people are aware of it. Therefore we don't look for it, it's found late, it's found coincidentally almost, so we want to start finding it more proactively."

Robinson notes by the time most patients are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the disease is very advanced and has already spread.  At that point just one in four can expect to survive it.  But experts say identifying symptoms early can give patients more of a fighting chance. At least 20-thousand women battle ovarian cancer nationwide each year.

Robinson says the Harrington Cancer Center treats about fifty patients for the disease each year in Amarillo.