Delay in diagnosis of epithelial ovarian cancer

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 1996 Mar;52(3):263-7. doi: 10.1016/0020-7292(95)02588-x.


Objectives: To investigate and analyze the process from first recognition of symptom(s) to final diagnosis at operation in patients with ovarian epithelial cancer.

Method: The medical records of 160 women with ovarian cancer were studied and traced back to the doctor first consulted, in order to obtain information on patient- and doctor-related delay.

Results: Symptom duration was 12 weeks in patients with serous tumors and 7 weeks in patients with other histopathological classes; 56% were diagnosed within 4 weeks. Women in stages I and II were diagnosed faster than those in stages III and IV; 4% were diagnosed within 3 days because of an emergency operation; 30% were not diagnosed within 8 weeks.

Conclusion: Diagnosis of ovarian cancer is difficult due to the vagueness of the symptoms which mislead both patients and doctors. Methods to enable earlier diagnosis must be sought.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors