|Breast cancer survivors and volunteers march to heighten public awareness of the disease. [Xinhua]|
Chinese health experts have called for greater public attention to the prevention and treatment of ovarian cancer.
About 17,000 people died of ovarian cancer in Chinese cities in 2015, according to latest statistics released by the National Cancer Center (NCC). In the same year, around 34,000 new cases were reported.
"Compared to breast cancer and cervical cancer, ovarian cancer is less known to the public," said Zhang Jianmin, secretary-general of China Women's Development Foundation. "It certainly deserves more attention."
According to health experts, ovarian cancer is the most deadly among the common cancers in women. About 70 percent of the patients are diagnosed too late, and the five-year survival rate is lower than 40 percent.
Wu Lingying, who heads the gynecologic cancer department of the NCC, said surgery and chemotherapy remain two effective treatments, but recurrence is common.
She said recurrence happens to nearly 70 percent of the patients one or two years after being treated.
"The prolonged illness is painful, the treatment very costly too," Wu said.
While noting that a new targeted therapy may be a better alternative, Wu called for greater attention to early detection and prevention.
She advised women who have a family history of ovarian cancer to take DNA sequencing tests and women in general, especially those entering menopause, to have regular annual gynecologic cancer check-ups.
Unexplained bloating, decreased appetite and weight loss must raise the alarm of possible cancer symptoms, Wu added.
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