Press Release: Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and Gynecologic Cancer Foundation Fund New Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Study

Study Hopes to Improve Symptom Recognition

New York (February 5, 2009)—Today, the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF), in partnership with the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF), announced that Barbara Goff, M.D., Director of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Washington, has been named to lead the OCRF Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Study. The award was presented by OCRF Scientific Advisory Board Vice-Chair, Carmel Cohen, M.D., at the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists 40th Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer™ in San Antonio, Texas.

The study builds on an original symptoms study conducted by Dr. Goff which formed the basis for the first national Consensus Statement on Ovarian Cancer Symptoms, issued in 2007. The grant will allow researchers to forge ahead in their efforts to develop a systematic symptoms screening process for ovarian cancer.

Dr. Goff, a leading expert in gynecologic cancer research, was chosen to receive the grant, which will be awarded over three years. She was selected by a committee assembled by the GCF and chaired by Thomas Herzog, M.D. The selection committee also included three members of the OCRF Scientific Advisory Committee.

Prior to the development of the Consensus Statement on Ovarian Cancer Symptoms, ovarian cancer was often referred to as the “silent killer.” Dr. Goff’s research led to an evidence-based list of symptoms associated with ovarian cancer. When ovarian cancer, the deadliest reproductive cancer, is detected early, it is 90% curable The three-year symptoms study will pilot a method of systematically collecting symptom information with the hope that a symptoms index can be developed for broad use in early ovarian cancer detection.

Dr. Cohen is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. “Based on early data, patients with seemingly early disease are included among those who present with new and otherwise unexplained symptoms,” Dr. Cohen noted. “While this may not be typical of early ovarian cancer, attention to the symptom complex may still serve as ‘early detection’ and thereby allow better opportunity for disease control in a segment of the population who develop ovarian cancer. We look forward to the possibility that this study will answer this question.”

Dr. Goff has spent years researching and writing about ovarian cancer and the discovery of an early detection method. A diagnostic tool for early detection is crucial since there is a significant difference in cure rates if ovarian cancer is found early. “Through the continuation of this vital research, we aim to debunk the myth that ovarian cancer is a ‘silent disease,’ and empower both physicians and women to be better equipped to recognize symptoms in their earliest stage,” Dr. Goff said. “Huge progress has been made, and now it’s time to take the next step.”

The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization founded in 1994 with a mission to fund research to find a method of early detection and ultimately a cure for ovarian cancer. OCRF is the leading independent agency dedicated to advancing ovarian cancer research in the United States. For more information, visit

The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation provides information on the leading types of cancer including gynecologic cancers—ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer and cervical cancer. Visit to read about cervical, endometrial and ovarian cancer survivor stories and gather additional information on cancer statistics, graphs and charts, as well as clinical trials for cancer and new cancer treating drugs.


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