The first-of-its-kind Cancer Loyalty Card Study (CLOCS) looked at whether there was an association between a diagnosis of ovarian cancer and taking over-the-counter pain and indigestion medications, such as pain relievers and digestive aids. as antacids help.
A study of nearly 300 women found that the use of pain and indigestion medications was higher in women later diagnosed with ovarian cancer than in women without ovarian cancer.
This change in purchases can be seen eight months before diagnosis.
The findings could help identify people who may have ovarian cancer at an earlier stage, which is one of the most effective ways to improve survival.
93% of people diagnosed with ovarian cancer survive 5 years or more when diagnosed at the earliest stage (stage 1), compared to only 13% at the latest stage (stage 4).
Formerly from University College London and currently studying at Lancaster University’s Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Jasmine Hirst led the initial research that led to this latest study. JMIR Public Health and Surveillance – where he is an investigator.
Dr. Hirst said, “Self-care is an individual’s ability to manage illness, maintain health without the support of health care providers, as well as use health care appropriately when needed. Self-care is an important part of recognizing and managing conditions that may resemble common illnesses and be directed by health care providers.” early signs and symptoms of cancer that can be treated without. Therefore, it is very important to understand how this process can affect timely presentation in healthcare.
“The Cancer Loyalty Card Study (CLOCS) is one of the leading projects to show that our health behaviors can be measured outside of health records using transactional data. These data are of great interest to behavioral scientists to investigate lifestyle changes, dietary behaviors, and perhaps more self-care and health outcomes. to explore other databases (e.g., biosensors) that may provide more information about.”
Ovarian cancer symptoms can be vague in the early stages of the disease, which leads some people to buy drugs from their local pharmacy to relieve their symptoms instead of seeing a doctor because they don’t think their condition is serious. These early symptoms may include loss of appetite, stomach pain, and bloating. This results in many people with ovarian cancer being diagnosed late, often when the cancer has already spread and their chances of survival are greatly reduced.
Ovarian cancer cases are on the rise
Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the UK, with around 7,400 people diagnosed each year and more than 4,000 people dying from the disease each year. 1 in 5 women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed in A&E and many do not receive any treatment for their disease because they are so unwell when they are diagnosed.
Lead author of the study Dr. from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College. James Flanagan said: “The signs of cancer we look for are very common, but for some women they can be the first signs of something more serious.
“Using shopping data, our study found a marked increase in the purchase of pain and indigestion medications among women up to 8 months after diagnosis compared to women without ovarian cancer. This suggests that it is long before women perceive their symptoms as alarming enough. GP- they can be treated at home.
Early detection of Ovarian Cancer saves lives
“Since we know that early diagnosis of ovarian cancer is the key to improving the chances of survival, we hope that this research can lead to earlier detection of ovarian cancer symptoms and improve treatment options for patients.”
The study included loyalty card data from two large UK-based retailers of 283 women. Of these participants, 153 were women diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 120 were women without. The researchers examined the women’s 6-year purchase history.
Participants were asked to complete a short questionnaire about ovarian cancer risk factors, symptoms they experienced (if any), and the number of visits to their doctor in the year before diagnosis for cancer referrals or cases.
On average, participants with ovarian cancer began to recognize their symptoms about 4 1/2 months before diagnosis. Among those who did see a doctor to check their symptoms, the first visit occurred, on average, about 3 1/2 months before diagnosis.
The researchers note that more research is needed to confirm their findings, and they hope that larger studies with patients diagnosed at different stages can support and strengthen these results.
It is also hoped that this research may lead to the future development of a warning system for individuals to seek medical care for symptoms of cancer or other illnesses.
Cancer Research UK’s head of Prevention and Early Detection Research, Dr. David Crosby said: “In today’s digital age we live with a wealth of information at our fingertips. Studies like this are a great example of how we can use this information for good and to help detect cancer earlier.
“It’s incredible to think that this innovative research, using the loyalty cards many of us carry in our wallets, could help women with ovarian cancer, which is often diagnosed late and mimics the symptoms of other, more benign diseases.
“Although further studies with more patients are needed, this study shows exciting potential for a new way to detect cancer early and save lives.”
The research team has been funded by Cancer Research UK to continue this work to investigate whether over-the-counter products can be used in a similar way for other cancers such as stomach, liver and bladder cancers. usually has non-specific symptoms.
Ovarian cancer patient representative Fiona Murphy, who helped develop the research, said: “I was on Gaviscon for 18 months before my ovarian cancer diagnosis, because of the severe acid reflux that went with me everywhere. If it was linked to ovarian cancer, it would have been faster diagnosis, less surgery and better fertility. would have options.
“I wanted to help develop this research because I was misdiagnosed for almost two years. If there’s a way to get an earlier diagnosis, I want to help people in the same situation I was in.”
Fiona was diagnosed with mucinous ovarian cancer in 2008 after being symptomatic for nearly 2 years. He was not one of the 283 participants whose loyalty card data was used for the study.