Wednesday, August 26, 2009 9:35:33 AM
Most Ovarian Cancer Victims Face Delays In Diagnosis That Can Kill
By Jenny Hope
25th August 2009, Daily Mail.com
More than half of women with ovarian cancer face delays in diagnosis that can be fatal, warn researchers.
Even when women with symptoms seek help from their GP, many doctors miss vital signs that could result in a life-saving early diagnosis, it is claimed.
The disease, which affects almost 7,000 women a year, is dubbed the ‘silent killer’ because symptoms are often diagnosed too late.
Silent killer: Early detection of ovarian cancer means 95 per cent of women will survive, but researchers warn doctors are missing vital symptoms
About 4,400 women die each year from ovarian cancer, which claims the lives of over 85 per cent of patients if not found until a late stage when it has spread to other parts of the body.
Detection in the early stages means 95 per cent of women will survive.
Experts writing in the British Medical Journal warn that doctors may be missing a key symptom of ovarian cancer because it is not included in current guidance for urgent investigation.
Women reporting a distended abdomen need to be urgently seen for tests because the symptom more than doubles the risk of having the disease, according to researchers from Bristol University.
More…Breast cancer ‘wonder drug’ INCREASES risk of rare tumour by 440%
But UK guidance on urgent referrals says women should be sent for investigation only if they experience abnormal bleeding or if they have a palpable mass that is not obviously fibroids.
The study involved 212 women aged 40 and over from across 39 general practices in Devon, and were compared with more than 1,000 healthy women.
The four most common symptoms are abdominal distension, pain, bloating and loss of appetite.
Others include increased urinary frequency, constipation or diarrhoea, abnormal bleeding, weight loss and fatigue.
But some women reporting abdominal distension, urinary frequency and abdominal pain waited at least six months before a diagnosis was made.
Dr William Hamilton, who led the study, said: ‘Abdominal distension is not included in current guidance for urgent investigation; if it were, some women could have their diagnosis expedited by many months.
‘Quite simply ovarian cancer doesn’t spring to the GP’s mind. Unquestionably some women have their cancer missed and have to return – sometimes repeatedly.
‘Ovarian cancer is not a “silent killer” – it is just not being heard.’
Annwen Jones, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said the latest findings echoed its own research, which found more than a third of women waited more than six months from first visiting their GP to getting their diagnosis.
She said: ‘The UK’s high rates of late diagnosis have played an important part in keeping five-year survival rates low at just 30 per cent – amongst the lowest in the western world.
‘In the last 12 months there has been progress with the Department of Health and charities agreeing key messages on symptoms of ovarian cancer for both health professionals and the public, but knowledge of these messages is woefully low.’
If that is not enough to convince you that our private health care is better than a single payer system run by the government. Read this!
Thousands of women are having to give birth outside maternity wards because of a lack of midwives and hospital beds.
The lives of mothers and babies are being put at risk as births in locations ranging from lifts to toilets – even a caravan – went up 15 per cent last year to almost 4,000.
Health chiefs admit a lack of maternity beds is partly to blame for the crisis, with hundreds of women in labour being turned away from hospitals because they are full.
Latest figures show that over the past two years there were at least:
63 births in ambulances and 608 in transit to hospitals;
117 births in A&E(emergency) departments, four in minor injury units and two in medical assessment areas;
115 births on other hospital wards and 36 in other unspecified areas including corridors;
399 in parts of maternity units other than labour beds, including postnatal and antenatal wards and reception areas.
Additionally, overstretched maternity units shut their doors to any more women in labour on 553 occasions last year.
Babies were born in offices, lifts, toilets and a caravan, according to the Freedom of Information data for 2007 and 2008 from 117 out of 147 trusts which provide maternity services.
One woman gave birth in a lift while being transferred to a labour ward from A&E while another gave birth in a corridor, said East Cheshire NHS Trust.
Others said women had to give birth on the wards – rather than in their own maternity room – because the delivery suites were full.
Tory health spokesman Andrew Lansley, who obtained the figures, said Labour had cut maternity beds by 2,340, or 22 per cent, since 1997. At the same time birth rates have been rising sharply – up 20 per cent in some areas.
Mr Lansley said: ‘New mothers should not be being put through the trauma of having to give birth in such inappropriate places.
Setting aside the arguments of limiting services that are life saving to seniors. It appears that the “common folk” have a real problem with the type of health care that Obama and the Democrats want to ram down our throats!