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New Breakthrough For Detecting Ovarian Cancer

The American Cancer Society says that more than 21,000 women in the US will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year and more than 14,000 will die because of it. And though this type of cancer accounts for only 3% among other cancers in women, it is the deadliest.

In a recent development, researchers have found a way to detect twice as many cases of possible ovarian cancer using blood tests compared to older testing methods. This will help diagnose women sooner and start treatment earlier.

According to Usha Menon, MD, professor of gynecologic oncology at University College London and member of the research group, the new screening method uses a certain formula to study the CA125 protein and interpret its changing levels.

This new method observes how protein levels in a woman's blood, which are linked to ovarian cancer, change over time.

A few things are also taken into consideration: a woman's age, overall rate of ovarian cancer in that age range, and the CA125 profile of the woman over time. All this information is compared to the risk level of other women with the same profiles. Identifying the risk level helps the doctor determine if a woman needs more tests or treatment.

In conventional testing methods, only 41% to 66% of women with ovarian cancer are identified. But with the new method, 86% of women are identified.

This study is 14 years in the making and has screened over 46,000 women. It is part of a large ovarian cancer screening trial started in the mid-nineties and is published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Debbie Saslow, PhD, director of cancer control intervention for the American Cancer Society, says, “It's definitely exciting, it's promising.”

As of now, further research and studies are still taking place and the final breakdown of the results of all testing can be expected by the end of the year.