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Producing Lifesaving Research: Women with Irregular Menstrual Cycles at Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer Death

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PHI’s Child Health and Development Studies (CHDS) found that women with irregular menstrual cycles had up to a threefold increased risk of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death for women in the US, claiming over 14,000 lives in 2015. The lack of specific early symptoms and disease aggressiveness command the need for new tools to identify early warning signs for a type of cancer that in the past has gone unnoticed until it’s too late.

More than 60 years ago, CHDS enrolled over 15,000 mothers early on in their pregnancy. Identifying early risk factors for ovarian cancer, which is usually not diagnosed until after it has spread, allows clinicians to develop strategies to potentially save lives. The findings from this study published in 2016 in the International Journal of Cancer give clinicians a new high-risk target—women with irregular menstrual cycles—for more intensive ovarian cancer screening and the opportunity for earlier intervention and life-saving treatment. Learn more about the study.

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