Earlier Detection Of Ovarian Cancer Now Possible

Ovarian cancer is known as the hidden killer.  The tumours often grow quietly unnoticed until late diagnosis makes them untreatable.  However, the results of a 14-year trial by the University College, London have now revealed that blood tests could detect 86% of ovarian cancer tumours early enough for successful treatment.

Diagnosis and blood tests

In the UK alone approximately 7,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, and of those over half die.  One factor that makes the cancer so tricky to diagnose is that its general symptoms of bloating, abdominal pain, and difficulty eating are also common to many other conditions.

However, clues can be found in the blood of sufferers.  Ovarian cancer tumours shed a chemical called CA125 in high amounts.  Blood tests searching for this chemical are already carried out on patients already exhibiting common symptoms.  The trial tested 46,000 post-menopausal women annually across the UK.  The tests looked for increasing levels of CA125. Women showing increasing levels were sent for additional tests and ultrasound scans.

It’s hoped by doctors involved in the trial that more regular screening will help early diagnosis of ovarian cancer and save lives.  Further data regarding mortality rates of those involved in the trial will be forthcoming later this year when a decision will be made as to whether it is worth rolling out a mass screening program based on the results of the trial.

The results of the trial are encouraging thus far.  One in four women highlighted by the blood tests was found to be in the early stages of ovarian cancer.  This meant that treatment could be commenced earlier.  When the full results are revealed later this year, the UK National Screening Committee will decide whether an ovarian cancer screening program would be appropriate.

In conclusion

The results of this latest research are certainly very exciting, and appear to take us one step closer to finding an effective method of the early diagnosis and successful treatment of ovarian cancer.  If it can be proven that earlier detection does in fact save lives, a full screening program will be implemented across the UK, and it is hoped that other countries will follow suit.



Alison Page

About Alison Page

Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies. Read her full story at

Alison Page

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