Awareness of Symptoms and Risk Factors of Ovarian Cancer in a Population of Women and Healthcare Providers

Carol L. Goldstein

Ellen Susman

Suzy Lockwood

Erin E. Medlin

Kian Behbakht

ovarian cancer, awareness, symptoms, gynecology, oncology
CJON 2015, 19(2), 206-212. DOI: 10.1188/15.CJON.206-212

Background: Awareness of ovarian cancer among women and healthcare providers is understudied. An early awareness of ovarian cancer may lead to early detection and treatment of ovarian cancer.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the level of that awareness among a sample of women and providers.

Methods: Written surveys were developed by the authors based on available literature and were administered to women (n = 857) and healthcare providers (n = 188) attending or volunteering at a community health fair. Chi-square tests for independence and z tests were used for analysis.

Findings: Healthcare providers were significantly more likely to identify the symptoms and risk factors for ovarian cancer. Forty percent of women reported being at least slightly familiar with the symptoms of ovarian cancer. Women who were familiar with symptoms were significantly more likely to identify symptoms and risk factors correctly and to report symptoms immediately to a provider. Identification of symptoms among healthcare providers ranged from 59%–93%. Identification of ovarian cancer symptoms and risk factors is poor among women, and knowledge deficits are present in providers. Increasing familiarity and awareness could lead to improvements in early diagnosis.

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