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More than 21,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year in the United States, and about 14,000 die from the disease. It's been called the "silent killer" because the symptoms are vague and the cancer often isn't diagnosed until it has reached an advanced stage.
Dr. Sarah Temkin, an oncologist who specializes in treating gynecologic cancers at the University of Maryland Medical Center, says that the most common form occurs in epithelial cells, or the outside lining, of the ovary.
In this Medically Speaking podcast, Dr. Temkin, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, tells Karen Warmkessel that about 10 percent of ovarian cancers are linked to genes. Mutations in the BRCA genes run in families and are tied to increased risk for both breast and ovarian cancers, she says. Women who have these gene mutations should be screened and monitored closely.
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