A Need for Earlier Ovarian Cancer Detection 

The lack of specific symptoms continues to be a driving factor in the late diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Only 20% of cases are detected early, and this is due to ineffective screening strategies to date.

To highlight the importance of early detection, the overall 5-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is 47%, but this becomes 92% when detected early.  There is promising evidence that the serum levels of a naturally occurring protein, CA-125, are elevated in the blood of women with ovarian cancer.  However, this is only statistically significant in late stage ovarian cancer and high serum levels of CA-125 are also associated with non-related conditions such as endometriosis and inflammatory pelvic disorder.  Whilst higher than normal levels of CA-125 may be used as a marker for reproductive disorders, a transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS) remains the most reliable test for specific ovarian cancer detection.

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Further research is needed for more accurate and early screening strategies to improve ovarian cancer prognosis.

Nabta is reshaping women’s healthcare. We support women with their personal health journeys, from everyday wellbeing to the uniquely female experiences of fertility, pregnancy, and menopause

Get in touch if you have any questions about this article or any aspect of women’s health. We’re here for you. 

Sources:

  • Jacobs, I J, et al. “Ovarian Cancer Screening and Mortality in the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS): a Randomised Controlled Trial.” Lancet, vol. 387, 5 Mar. 2016, pp. 945–956., doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(15)01224-6.
  • Menon, U, et al. “Risk Algorithm Using Serial Biomarker Measurements Doubles the Number of Screen-Detected Cancers Compared With a Single-Threshold Rule in the United Kingdom Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening.” Journal of Clinical Oncology, vol. 33, no. 18, 20 June 2015, pp. 2062–2071., doi: 10.1200/JCO.2014.59.4945.
  • Survival Rates for Ovarian Cancer, by Stage. American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org/cancer/ovarian-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/survival-rates.html. Last reviewed: 11/4/2018.
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