Pathways to the diagnosis of epithelial ovarian cancer in Australia

Jordan, Susan J., Francis, Jane E., Nelson, Anne E., Zorbas, Helen M., Luxford, Karen A. and Webb, Penelope M. (2010) Pathways to the diagnosis of epithelial ovarian cancer in Australia. Medical Journal of Australia, 193 6: 326-330.

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Author Jordan, Susan J.
Francis, Jane E.
Nelson, Anne E.
Zorbas, Helen M.
Luxford, Karen A.
Webb, Penelope M.
Title Pathways to the diagnosis of epithelial ovarian cancer in Australia
Journal name Medical Journal of Australia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0025-729X
Publication date 2010-09-20
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 193
Issue 6
Start page 326
End page 330
Total pages 5
Place of publication Strawberry Hills, NSW, Australia
Publisher Australasian Medical Publishing Company
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: To describe the diagnostic pathways experienced by a large, representative group of Australian women with ovarian cancer, and to document the time between first presentation to a medical professional and clinical diagnosis.

Design, setting and participants: 1463 women with epithelial ovarian cancer from an Australia-wide population-based study (2002–2005) completed a telephone interview in which they described the events that led to the diagnosis of their cancer.

Main outcome measures:
Number and type of doctors consulted, investigations performed, referral patterns and the time from first presentation to diagnosis.

Of the 1463 women, 145 had their cancer diagnosed incidentally and were excluded from analysis. Most of the remaining 1318 women (1222, 93%) presented first to their general practitioner. As a result of their first medical consultation, 75 women (6%) were given a diagnosis, and 484 (37%) were referred to a gynaecologist, gynaecological oncologist or oncologist for further assessment. Overall, 85% of women visited three or fewer doctors before their cancer was diagnosed; 66% of cancers were diagnosed within 1 month of the initial presentation, and 80% were diagnosed within 3 months. For 12% of women, the diagnostic process took longer than 6 months; this was more likely for women residing in remote Australia, those with lower incomes, and those presenting with abdominal pain or bowel symptoms, or with more than one symptom.

Conclusions: Despite anecdotal suggestions to the contrary, most women with ovarian cancer in Australia are investigated and diagnosed promptly. The diagnostic process is more protracted for a minority of women, and the factors we found to be associated with diagnostic delay warrant further investigation.
Keyword Women
Abdominal mass
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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Created: Sun, 24 Oct 2010, 10:05:47 EST