Ovarian Cancer “New Potential” in Screening

Ovarian Cancer "New Potential" in Screening
Ovarian Cancer Cells

Researchers from the US have said that there might be a new “potential” way of screening for ovarian cancer.

Over the years it has been very difficult to detect tumors in the early stages in the ovaries, which means finding the tumors at a later stage can mean that it is too late to treat them effectively.

In the Journal Cancer, it has been reported that over 4,051 woman showed the method can identify who will be in need for the treatment.  A Study in the UK will give the final verdict on the test results, as it will be completed in 2015.

If the ovarian cancer is caught in the early stages, there is a 90 percent chance of survival rate, where if discovered at a later stage there is only a 30 percent chance.

The tumor can be misdiagnosed as it has similar symptoms as other ailments, such as pelvic and abdominal pain or persistent bloating, unlike any other cancer.

It is also very difficult to detect ovarian cancer as there is no mass screening program available to detect it.

In ovarian cancer, the CA125, which is the levels of protein in the blood, are in most cases very high.  But this is very unreliable on its own to detect the cancer, as it can say the healthiest patient has the cancer when they do not.

Patients are now being placed into different groups based on their CA125 levels.  Before going straight into surgery, the low-risk patients are tested again in a year, the medium risk patients once after three months and the high-risk patients will have an ultrasound scan done to detect the tumors.

Already, cancers were detected at an early stage in ten woman had the ultrasound done, and were sent for surgery. 

Dr Karen Lu a researcher, has said, “Clinical practice definitely should not change from our study, but it gives us an insight – we didn’t get a lot of false positives.”

Dr Lu said that the UK has studies 50,000 people who would give definitive results; she said there are two questions: would they see the cancer at an earlier stage and would they be able to decrease the number of deaths?

Dr Sarah Bladgen, who is from the Ovarian Cancer Action research center, says that this is a small study and it shows that effective ovarian screening is very possible. In 2015 the results of the UKCTOCs study, offering the potential of a new type of ovarian cancer screening, will become available.

Written By: Landi Bezuidenhout

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