THURSDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- More than one-quarter of
women with apparent early-stage ovarian cancer don't receive
recommended lymph node biopsies to check for cancer spread, which
nearly doubles these patients' risk of death, say U.S.
The team at the University of California Davis Cancer Center and
California Cancer Registry analyzed the medical records and cancer
registry data of 721 presumed early-stage ovarian cancer patients
in California and New York and found that only 72 percent had lymph
nodes from the pelvis and abdomen tested for signs of cancer
The five-year survival rate was 84 percent for patients who had
lymph node biopsies and 69 percent for those who did not have the
The study also found that gynecologic oncologists were nearly
6.5 times more likely to perform lymph node biopsies than other
surgical specialists, and nearly four times more likely to perform
all recommended staging biopsies.
It's not clear why some surgeons do not remove lymph nodes
during surgery for early-stage ovarian cancer, said senior author
Dr. Gary Leiserowitz, chief of gynecologic oncology at the UC Davis
Cancer Center, in a university news release. It may be that they
don't believe the patient would benefit either because they're
older or have other serious health problems, or both.
But unless a patient is clearly medically unsuited for the
lifesaving biopsies, they should be done, study authors added.
The study appears online and in the April print issue of the
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about