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Howard Muntz, MD, Virginia Mason Doctor, Is Senior Author on Study Published in JAMA

New Findings Expand Possibilities for Early Detection

SEATTLE, Wash. – The field of ovarian cancer research has new data, thanks to the work outlined in a paper called “Frequency of Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer in Women Presenting to Primary Care Clinics” that appeared in the June 9th edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The study reaffirmed that key symptoms of ovarian cancer should be known to patients as well as primary care physicians to promote early detection and treatment.

The study was designed to further define symptoms women exhibit as signs of ovarian cancer, such as bloating, that often occur normally in women without cancer. Women with ovarian cancer frequently report symptoms prior to diagnosis, but distinguishing these symptoms from those that normally occur in women remains problematic. The study compared the frequency, severity, and duration of symptoms between women with ovarian cancer and women without presenting to primary care clinics.

Howard G. Muntz, MD, along with Barbara A. Goff, MD; Lynn S. Mandel, PhD; Cindy H. Melancon, RN determined that clusters of symptoms that appeared with more frequency warranted further investigation because they are more likely to be associated with both benign and malignant ovarian masses. Such possible ovarian cancer symptoms included bloating, increased abdominal size, fatigue, urinary urgency, abdominal pain, and pelvic pain.

“Both patients and doctors should be reassured that we have more information about symptoms to watch for to allow prompt diagnosis of ovarian cancer. We can no longer call it the silent disease…” said Howard Muntz, MD, Virginia Mason doctor and researcher on this study. He also participated in an earlier ovarian cancer study of ovarian cancer symptoms, published in CANCER in 2000.

Howard Muntz, MD also spoke as a key speaker at a Continuing Medical Education program titled, “Cancer Screening and Detection 2004: What the Primary Care Provider Needs to Know on June 11th at Virginia Mason Medical Center.

Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a non-profit comprehensive regional health care system that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of nearly 400 physicians with a 336-bed acute care Seattle hospital. In addition, Virginia Mason has a network of clinics located throughout the Puget Sound area, and manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and adult day health program for people living with HIV and AIDS. Virginia Mason also has an internationally recognized research center, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.
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