Hope for New Ovarian Cancer Screening
A new screening programme for ovarian cancer might soon be implemented in the United Kingdom as scientists in the United States have successfully undergone a methodical research at the University of Texas, on a new way of detecting the disease.
According to the Journal Cancer, the medical trial of over four thousand women who have gone through the proposed method, has showed positive results, thus making it possible to be approved and carried through in the UK in the next few years.
The identifying method is currently subject to a test from the British government, due for results in 2015.
Every year in the United Kingdom, approximately 4,500 women die of ovarian cancer. Detecting the disease in its early stages, when it is most responsive to an efficient treatment, is, however, extremely difficult. Tumors in the ovaries are particularly hard to detect in an inception stage, thus making it practically impossible for patients to be treated on time.
Due to the significantly misleading results coming from the blood tests used in the United Kingdom for the detection of ovarian cancer, no National Screening Programme is currently performed.
During the comprehensive study carried out at the University of Texas and the MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston, ten women have undergone surgery based on an ultrasound scan, and the types of cancer detected were in a relatively early stage.
The outstanding research demonstrated it was possible to diagnose a patient with an ovarian tumor correctly, through a screening strategy of blood tests and ultrasound examinations.
Researcher Dr Karen Lu, leader of the medical experiment, declared that the “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 added “the results from our study are not practice-changing at this time; however, our findings suggest that using a longitudinal screening strategy may be beneficial in post-menopausal women with an average risk of developing ovarian cancer.”
“We are currently waiting for the results of a larger, randomised study currently being conducted in the United Kingdom that uses the same Risk of Ovarian Cancer Algorithm in a similar population of women. If the results of this study are also positive, then this will result in a change in practice,” she concluded.
Ovarian cancer is most commonly detected through symptoms like pelvic and abdominal pain, and persistent bloating, which are often mistaken as symptoms of other less significant conditions, thus preventing a severe form of cancer from being efficiently and timely treated.
In comparison with the early stages of the disease, when approximately 90 per cent of the patients are completely cured, a late diagnosis leads to a survival rate of as low as 30 per cent.
Dr Annwen Jones, chief executive of the Target Ovarian Cancer organization, has further supported the statements: “The results of this study are without doubt very positive, and we should take hope from that. Early detection of ovarian cancer will be the key to transforming survival rates. However, this study is very small, and there is no guarantee that the results will be replicated on a larger scale.”