A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine has highlighted ‘surprising gaps’ in the understanding of ovarian cancer. The report commissioned by Congress has unveiled that ovarian cancer is not just one type of cancer and is not a silent killer as it is known to be.
Jerome F. Strauss, chair of the committee, said that progress has been made in ovarian cancer research, but there is much more to be done in the field. Ovarian cancer is responsible for around 3% of cancer diagnosis in women and is considered to be the fifth-leading cause of cancer-related death.
Committee member Heidi Donovan of the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing said that ovarian cancer is actually a group of cancers. There are emerging evidences that ovarian cancer is not a single disease.
The report has even suggested that priority should be given to high-grade serous carcinoma, which is responsible for around 70% of deaths. Most cases of high-grade serous carcinoma take place in the fallopian tubes and spread to be ovaries, where the cancer grows and is eventually discovered.
Donovan said that the ability to spread is a marker of an aggressive tumor and once it has been found then they have already meta-sized. On the other hand, other forms of ovarian cancer that are easier to detect are easy to detect and might be over-treated.
“These are really very distinct cancers and need to be treated as distinct cancers — the past practice of lumping them together should be a thing of the past. The goal is to get away from giving almost everybody this very toxic chemotherapy”, affirmed Donovan.
Ovarian cancer is not a silent killer as most women do experience symptoms but often ignore them. The symptoms can include bloating, cramping, feeling of fullness or urinary problems.