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Is Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer Possible?

By HERWriter
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can ovarian cancer be detected early? MonkeyBusiness Images/PhotoSpin

A new study has shown that a simple blood test combined with an ultrasound exam may help doctors catch ovarian cancer while it's still treatable. If test results are confirmed in clinical trials, the test could become a routine ovarian cancer screening for women.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women. There are few symptoms and the symptoms aren’t very distinctive in the early stages. By the time a woman knows she has ovarian cancer, it’s often advanced and the outlook is grim.

Fox News said that according to researchers, when caught in the early stages, 75 to 90 percent of patients survive for at least five years.

This new study "is a ray of excitement," researcher Dr. Karen Lu, gynecologic oncology professor at Houston’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center told HealthDay News. "The important message is that this shouldn't change clinical practice right now. We don't have enough data."

WebMD wrote that unlike breast, cervical or colon cancer, there's no reliable screening test to detect ovarian cancer.

Many approaches to ovarian cancer screening have been tried, but none of them has proven accurate enough to use. Most produce high numbers of false positive results, which require doctors to perform invasive surgeries to rule out cancer.

"In breast cancer screening, when a mammogram is abnormal, a biopsy is made, before anything further is done,” Lu told Fox News, “but in ovarian cancer, in order to confirm cancer, an actual surgery is needed to take out the ovaries and examine them."

In the new study, which ran for 11 years and included more than 4,000 women, a two-stage screening method appeared nearly 100 percent accurate at ruling out these harmful false positive results reported HealthDay News.

The researchers recruited postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 74 who had no personal or family history of ovarian cancer.

The new screening method combines a blood test that measures a protein shed by tumor cells called CA-125 and an ultrasound exam so doctors can look at the ovaries. The women underwent yearly blood tests, and the researchers recorded the levels of CA-125.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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