At UC Davis in California, researchers found out that almost one-third of ovarian cancer patients have survived a minimum of ten years after their diagnosis.
The current reputation of ovarian cancer patients is that the women diagnosed face a very low rate of survival potential. But the study recently done actually confirms that there are a large amount of long-term survivors who did not meet any of the usual characteristics associate with survival like being younger or have an early diagnosis, according to Science News.
“The perception that almost all women will die of this disease is not correct,” says Rosemary Cress, lead author of the paper, published online today in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “This information will be helpful to physicians who first diagnose these patients and the obstetricians/gynecologists who take care of them after they receive treatment from specialists.”
Cress is an epidemiologist and associate adjunct professor at the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences. She accessed the data from the California Cancer Registry of all California residents diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer between 1994 and 2001, which is the most common type of cancer.
She came to find out that 3,582 of the 11.541 patients in the registry had actually survived over 10 years after diagnosis. The study is unique in that most survival studies only search for data of patients that had a 5-year survival or less. In other words, the information is there, but it just has not been properly viewed and analyzed.
The researchers were shocked to find out that of the over 3,000 survivors, 954 of them were at one point thought to be at a very high risk of dying from ovarian cancer.
“This information is important for patient counseling,” says study co-author Gary Leiserowitz, a professor of gynecologic oncology and interim chair of the UC Davis Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “Many patients and physicians know that ovarian cancer is a dangerous cancer, but they don’t realize that there is significant biological variability among patients. It’s not a uniformly fatal prognosis.”