SAN FRANCISCO--Enhanced concern by the medical community and by
women themselves prompted the National Institutes of Health's
Office of Medical Applications of Research to convene last year's
consensus conference on ovarian cancer, Vicki Seltzer, MD, said
at the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians
and Gynecologists (ACOG).
"Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death
among women, with an estimated toll of 13,600 deaths in 1994,"
Dr. Seltzer said. Because the disease is often diagnosed late,
the death rate is high, as compared with other cancers, and this
has led to considerable public interest in the disease.
"I also believe that the death of Gilda Radner, who didn't
know she was at high risk for the disease and whose cancer was
diagnosed late, increased women's concern about ovarian cancer,"
said Dr. Seltzer, professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics
and Gynecology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park,
The consensus development conference was sponsored jointly by
the National Cancer Institute and the Office of Medical Applications
of Research, and these organizations outlined the issues to be
debated and selected the members of the planning committee.
The committee, chaired by Dr. Seltzer, then decided which questions
to pose and which experts to invite to give presentations. After
2 days of presentations and open discussion, the committee adjourned
to draft a statement.
In the weeks following Gilda Radner's death, Dr. Seltzer recalled
the concerns of female patients who visited her office. "Women
were coming in with elevated CA 125 values, wondering where to
go from there."