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Ovarian Cancer Detection Gets Even More Efficient

Ovarian Cancer Detection has improved

Recent studies on ovarian cancer detection were supported by the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research United Kingdom and the UK Department of Health. These studies revealed that the detection of ovarian cancer has significantly improved by using what the researchers refer to as a 'risk algorithm'. This device was able to detect over 80% of ovarian cancers in more than 200,000 women.

These studies have been published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Lead author, Usha Menon remarks that the findings are encouraging because there are currently no national screening campaigns in place.

Studies and Findings

Studies used statistics, accumulating over 290,000 female years of annual screening, 2822 women were clinically assessed while 640 underwent surgery. Of the women who underwent surgery, 133 patients had incidences of invasive ovarian or tubal cancers. The effectiveness of these studies showed that by using the risk algorithm the detection rate had more or less doubled.

The algorithm test procedures were applied definitively, categorizing test subjects into three categories. These categories were labelled as normal risk, intermediate risk and elevated risk. The most serious cases were referred for clinical assessment.

Results in Layman’s Terms

While it is not yet possible to detect ovarian cancer at the earliest stages, the seriousness of the cancer could be measured accurately. From this accurate assessment, it would be possible for specialists to prescribe a course of action without unnecessary delays. It reinforced the importance of annual, voluntary screening regardless of whether ovarian cancer is detected or not.

Dr. Menon highlights an area of indecision in spite of these latest studies. Her concern is whether or not the correct treatment will be given. She is also concerned about patients being given unnecessary treatment.

Issues and Concerns

Lines of meaning distinguishing between what overdiagnosis and overtreatment are remain blurred. Dr. Menon reminds readers that ovarian cancer detection still differs vastly from other cancer detection procedures such as prostate, breast and lung cancer. She argues that in the early stages of screening for ovarian cancer there is no precursor lesion that can be detected as is the case of breast cancer.

Dr. Menon warns readers that even though the risk algorithm screening procedure has been accurate, it does not provide the desired earliest detection of ovarian cancer growth.

Great, Encouraging News

These studies have advanced the quest towards improving screening efficiency for detecting ovarian cancer. Dr. Menon happily concedes that by using the risk algorithm and the study’s findings, the early detection of ovarian cancer, in which there is currently only a six month survival rate, will come. She points out that by using the risk algorithm changes in serum cancer antigen can be measured accurately in spite of the current problem of timing.

Ultimately, Usha Menon declares that these studies bring “great, encouraging news.” Cautiously optimistic, she notes that a conclusive answer in addressing the earliest detection of ovarian cancer will be made known later this year. 

 

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