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Younger women survive ovarian cancer better
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 07 - 11 - 2006

Younger women with ovarian cancer
have better survival rates than older patients, even if they
have surgery to conserve their fertility, scientists said on
Tuesday, according to Reuters.
Ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer because it is
often not detected until the illness is in an advanced stage and
more difficult to treat.
But an American study showed that 59 percent of women
diagnosed between the ages of 30-60 were still alive five years
later, compared to only 35 percent of older women with the
Ovarian cancer is rare in women under 30 but the 5-year
survival rate for that age group was 79 percent.
"We found that younger patients have a better survival..,"
said Dr John Chan of Stanford University in California, in the
British Journal of Cancer.
Although the improved survival of young women could be due
in part to an earlier diagnosis and a lower grade of tumour,
Chan and his team believe there may be other underlying, unknown
factors linked to the improved prognosis.
The researchers also found no significant difference in the
survival of women of child-bearing age who had been treated with
surgery to conserve their fertility and those who had their
wombs removed.
"Our results suggest that more pre-menopausal women
diagnosed with ovarian cancer can be considered for
fertility-sparing surgery," said Chan.
"Also, given the overall encouraging survival rates in this
age group, we can potentially make a significant impact on the
outcomes of these young women with novel strategies," he added.
About 190,000 new cases of ovarian cancer occur worldwide
each year and 114,000 women die of the illness. The highest
rates are reported in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, the United
States and Canada, according to the International Agency for
Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France.
A family history of the illness is the most important risk
factor and occurs in 5-10 percent of cases. The illness is
influenced by hormones. Early puberty, late menopause, a history
of breast cancer and not having children may increase the odds
of developing it.
Chan's findings are based on an analysis of the medical
history of 28,000 American women who had been diagnosed with
ovarian cancer between 1988 and 2001.
The scientists called for more research into the potential
biological and molecular differences that could account for the
disparity in survival rates among the age groups.

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