(HealthDay News) – A simple, quick, easy-to-use paper form can help identify symptoms potentially indicative of ovarian cancer in women treated in the primary care clinic setting, according to research published in the September issue of the Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

M. Robyn Andersen, PhD, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues conducted a study involving 1,200 women, aged 40–87 years, in an effort to develop a simple, reliable method of collecting symptom information that could be used to identify symptoms potentially indicative of ovarian cancer in a primary care clinic setting.

The researchers found that, overall, 5% of women had positive results when written instructions provided to them emphasized listing only current symptoms. Most women completed the three-question survey in less than five minutes. Non-white women and women visiting their health care provider for a current medical concern had a higher rate of positive symptom index results. In total, one patient with a positive symptom index was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and none of the women who had a negative symptom index developed ovarian cancer.

“A quick paper and pencil form can be used to identify women with symptoms potentially indicative of ovarian cancer,” the authors write. “Use of such a form for ovarian cancer screening purposes is acceptable to most women and providers in a primary care clinic setting.”

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