Ovarian cancer guidelines 'ignore key symptom'

Ovarian cancer cases are being missed because diagnosis guidelines do not mention abdominal distension, the symptom most likely to be associated with the cancer, a study suggests.

Researchers from the University of Bristol examined the symptoms that could indicate ovarian cancer in women presenting to primary care. They then calculated the chance that a woman with a particular symptom actually had the cancer.

They found that six symptoms associated with ovarian cancer had a positive predictive value below 1%. These were: urinary frequency, abdominal pain, postmenopausal bleeding, loss of appetite, rectal bleeding, and abdominal bloating.

However, abdominal distension, which is not included in NICE referral guidelines for suspected cancer, had a positive predictive value of 2.5%.

The authors conclude that abdominal distension is ‘a common important symptom and warrants rapid investigation'.

Their research is published  in the BMJ.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

 

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus