Study: Most women with ovarian cancer don’t get proper treatment

March 11, 2013
Dr. Robert Bristow

IN THE NEWSThe New York Times highlighted a new study led by UC Irvine Health gynecologist Dr. Robert E. Bristow that shows most women with ovarian cancer don’t get the proper treatment for their disease:

A majority of women with ovarian cancer receive inadequate care and miss out on treatments that could add a year or more to their lives, according to the study found.

The results highlight what many experts say is a neglected problem: widespread, persistent flaws in the care of women with this disease, which kills 15,000 a year in the United States. About 22,000 new cases are diagnosed annually, most of them discovered at an advanced stage and needing aggressive treatment. Worldwide, there are about 200,000 new cases a year.

Cancer specialists around the country say the main reason for the poor care is that most women are treated by doctors and hospitals that see few cases of the disease and lack expertise in the complex surgery and chemotherapy that can prolong life.

“If we could just make sure that women get to the people who are trained to take care of them, the impact would be much greater than that of any new chemotherapy drug or biological agent,” said Bristow, director of the UC Irvine Health Ovarian Cancer Center and chief of gynecologic oncology at the UC Irvine Health School of Medicine.

Bristow was the lead author of the study, which was presented on Monday at a meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology in Los Angeles.

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