Friday, August 7, 2015

One Characteristic - Age

 A study looking at characteristics of women who are long-term survivors of ovarian cancer was recently published in the journal  Obstetrics & Gynecology . The study " Characteristics of Long-Term Survivors of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer" is currently pre-published
online and I am happy to say you can read the entire article for free. So I took the opportunity to download the article and read it and looked at the data.

This study is a retrospective study of over 11,500 women in California diagnosed between 1994 and 2001 with epithelial ovarian cancer. The California Cancer Registry was used.  Thirty one percent of the women in the study were long term survivors. Since I reached 10 years of survivorship last month I was interested to see how my characteristics matched those of women in California who were long term survivors. 

The study found the predictors of long-term survival were 
younger age ( 18-50)
early stage 
low grade 

Out of all those predictors I have one characteristic - younger age - and I barely made that one. I was diagnosed one month after my 50th. 

I found it interesting that 1/3 of the long term survivors were women who were  late stage /high grade serous. The authors explained this result as better surgical techniques that offered these women advantages as well as possible IP or BRCA mutation status. But that information was not available in the data set studied. 

I appreciate that the authors made note of the issues associated with long term survival. The paper ends with this paragraph- 
Long-term survival may bring its own challenges beyond worry about recurrence. Studies have shown that patients with ovarian cancer are challenged with problems of anxiety, fatigue, sexual, social, and financial problems, which should be amenable to appropriate interventions. These studies highlight that physicians, especially those who provide primary care, should be prepared to address cancer survivor- ship needs in this group of patients.

It would be interesting to see if similar studies were conducted in other states if the characteristics would be the same. 
Every Day is a Blessing!

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