Dear Colleague Letter - Information for Gastroenterologists about Ovarian Cancer

June 1, 2010

Dear Colleague,

Most cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed in advanced stages when treatment is least effective, making it the deadliest of all gynecologic malignancies. Since 1996, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has undertaken initiatives to increase awareness of ovarian cancer among women and health care professionals, promote early diagnosis and provide support to women with the disease. The enclosed fact sheet is being provided to gastroenterologists across the state as part of the Department's ovarian cancer awareness activities.

The fact sheet entitled "What the Gastroenterologist Needs to Know about Ovarian Cancer" provides gastroenterologists with critical information about the identification of ovarian cancer symptoms among female patients. This document was developed with input from a multi-disciplinary workgroup of gastroenterologists, gynecologic oncologists, an oncology nurse, and an ovarian cancer survivor, and contains the following evidence-based information:

  • Basic facts about ovarian cancer
  • Ovarian cancer symptoms
  • Hereditary Ovarian Cancer Susceptibility Syndromes
  • Diagnostic modalities
  • Recommendations for appropriate referral to a gynecologic oncologist
  • References

It is hoped that, ultimately, implementation of the best practices recommended in this fact sheet will lead to the early diagnosis of ovarian cancer among women whose symptoms may be misinterpreted and attributed to less serious medical conditions. We hope you find this to be a useful tool in your work with your female patients. For additional information regarding provider education materials and support services available for ovarian cancer patients, please contact Claire Qu, Program Coordinator, at (518) 474-1222 or .


Heather Dacus, DO, MPH
Director, Bureau of Chronic Disease Control