Increase in OTC drug purchases could point to ovarian cancer, study finds

Researchers in England found monitoring the purchase of over-the-counter medications could lead to early detection of ovarian cancer.

The study, published in JMIR Publications, compared purchases of OTC pain and indigestion medications prior to diagnosis in women with and without ovarian cancer using loyalty card data from two U.K.-based retailers. 

Pain and indigestion medication purchases increased eight months before diagnosis for women who would be diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

"The more important issue raised by this study is the lack of awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms," Jo Marie Tran Janco, MD, a gynecologic oncologist with Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center and Scripps Clinic in San Diego, told The Healthy. "In particular, new pelvic or abdominal pain, increased abdominal size and bloating, and feeling full very quickly or having difficulty eating should be evaluated, and ovarian cancer is a diagnosis (among others) that should be considered."

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