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Key Cancer Test Often Skipped

Wed., May 22, 1996

Ninety percent of women having surgery for early stage ovarian cancer were not checked thoroughly to see if the disease had spread - a step that can mean the difference between life and death, a National Cancer Institute study found.

Doctors who documented this lapse say there are several possible reasons, including ignorance among surgeons about how this lethal form of cancer spreads throughout the body.

“It certainly is disturbing that people are not getting the treatment that we recommend for them,” Dr. Edward Trimble said.

Trimble presented the findings Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology.

Trimble and colleagues reviewed the cases of 785 women who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1991 to see what kind of care they received.

They found that in 90 percent of early stage ovarian cancer cases, surgeons neglected to take tissue samples, usually from lymph nodes.

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