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Epithelial ovarian cancer is one of the more aggressive malignancies among American women today, and its incidence is increasing. The major obstacle in combatting ovarian cancer is the remarkable lack of symptoms in early-stage disease. Symptoms usually occur in advanced stages when tumor dissemination within the peritoneal cavity induces ascites with resultant increasing abdominal girth.
Physicians have been unable to reach women who have early-stage ovarian cancer, a time when a high cure rate could be expected. However, during the past few years, significant developments in the areas of serum tumor markers, transvaginal ultrasonography with color flow Doppler analysis, immunodiagnostic techniques, and immunotherapy have been reported. These new modalities show promise for use in the early diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer. The authors review some of the new data and discuss patient outcomes when these new modalities are used.
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