Study Finds Many Ovarian Cancer Patients Going Untreated

(July 6, 2016) Gynecologic Oncology recently published a study that found that, although surgery leads to longer survival rates, many ovarian cancer patients are not undergoing surgery, and some are not being treated at all. The researchers analyzed data from more than 210,000 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States between 2003 and 2011. The investigators found that, regardless of cancer stage, those who had surgery lived an average of 57 months, compared to less than 12 months for those who had chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and 1.4 months for those who received no treatment.

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The study also found that 95 percent of patients who did not undergo surgery had advanced cancer, and that among patients older than 75 with stage 3 or 4 cancer, nearly half did not have surgery and about 25 percent received no treatment.

“Our results reinforce that patients should not be triaged away from surgical care simply because of advanced ago or stage, as there seems to be a survival benefit associated with surgical treatment for these groups as well,” said David Salowitz, MD, the first author of this study.  “However, we were particularly concerned that nearly 23 percent of elderly patients with advanced-stage ovarian cancer received no treatment. These untreated cases warrant further investigation as they may represent sentinel cases of failure to access or deliver appropriate cancer care,” he concluded.

This study could lead to further investigation as to why so many women have difficulty accessing or finding suitable treatment options.

Read about the study from Oncology Nurse Advisor, and find the abstract in Gynecologic Oncology.

Posted on in Research