Centers for Disease Control Ovarian Cancer Control Initiative

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services in the federal government. The CDC was founded in 1946 “to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.” The Cancer Prevention and Control Program houses the Ovarian Cancer Control Initiative, founded in 2000 with less than one million dollars.

The OCCI: Improving Early Detection and Saving Women’s Lives

Since there currently are no effective screening tools for ovarian cancer, the OCCI focuses on increasing early detection, improving symptom awareness among women and health care providers and improving treatment and clinical practice. With its extensive network of cancer registries and access to health professionals, the CDC leverages its resources and proves to be the optimal agency to undertake such work. The OCCI supports a wide-variety of critical projects that work to enhance survivorship and understanding of ovarian cancer, including:

  • Efforts regarding risk screening and risk perception for women at high risk for ovarian cancer;
  • Initiatives to improve clinical practices in the follow-up of ovarian masses;
  • Research into the relationship between symptoms and time-to-diagnosis;
  • Investigating the frequency of symptoms in women aged 65 years and older with ovarian cancer, as compared to a matched cohort of cancer-free women;
  • Analyzing the risk perception, worry and use of ovarian cancer screening among women at average, elevated and high risk of ovarian cancer;
  • Studying the availability of gynecologic oncologists for ovarian cancer care; and
  • Tracking both incidence and surgical interventions of ovarian cancer.

Published Papers:

Development of a Public Health Research Program for Ovarian Cancer

Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Intramural studies address four public health questions: (1) What factors influence risk perception and screening behavior? (2) What are the primary diagnostic pathways or patterns in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer? (3) Are women receiving optimal surgical and chemotherapy treatments? (4) Are women receiving optimal end-of-life care?

Management of Adnexal Mass

All diagnostic modalities showed trade-offs between sensitivity and specificity, but the available literature does not provide sufficient detail on relevant characteristics of study populations to allow confident estimation of the results of alternative diagnostic strategies. Although modeling studies may prove useful in evaluating diagnostic algorithms, further work is needed to explore the implications of uncertainty about the natural history of ovarian cancer.

Pain Management in the Last Six Months of Life Among Women Who Died of Ovarian Cancer

Previous studies indicate that the symptoms of many dying cancer patients are undertreated and many suffer unnecessary pain. Of the 421 women, only 64 (15 percent) had no mention of pain in their charts. The use of medications typically prescribed for moderate to severe pain (‘‘high intensity’’ drugs) increased as women approached death. Our finding that only 54 percent of women with pain were given high intensity medication near death indicates room for improvement in the care of ovarian cancer patients at the end of life.

Predictors of Comprehensive Surgical Treatment in Patients With Ovarian Cancer

Many women with ovarian cancer, especially those in poor, elderly or minority groups, are not receiving recommended comprehensive surgery. Efforts should be made to ensure that all women with ovarian cancer, especially those in vulnerable populations, have the opportunity to receive care from centers or surgeons with higher comprehensive surgery rates.

Social Support Among Women Who Died of Ovarian Cancer

This study indicates that social support has some beneficial effects on receipt of personal health services. Friends and family may act as proponents for the patient in obtaining services. Health care professionals should be encouraged to assess the cancer patient’s social situation and identify areas where help may be needed.

Symptoms, Diagnoses, and Time to Key Diagnostic Procedures Among Older U.S. Women With Ovarian Cancer

Women with ovarian cancer presenting with gastrointestinal symptoms were more likely to have later-stage disease and longer time to key diagnostic tests than those with gynecologic symptoms. Clinicians should be aware of the potential for unresolved gastrointestinal symptoms to be indicators for ovarian cancer.


Identifying Public Health Opportunities to Reduce the Burden of Ovarian Cancer (2000)

The Use of Ultrasound in Diagnosing Ovarian Cancer: Can We Improve on Current Practice? (2002)

Related Links

CDC’s Web site for the Ovarian Cancer Control Initiative