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Test Developed To Improve Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis

Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis Could Improve With The Development Of A New Test


Doctors are hoping that improvements will be made to the diagnosis of ovarian cancer in the future, thanks to the development of a new test.

Scientists in Belgium and the UK have been working on the new identification method, which involves the analysis of blood test results, as well as ultrasound scan images to predict what type of cancer a patient is suffering from and what stage it is at.

In addition, the test can help doctors to tell whether or not a tumour is benign or malignant, therefore reducing the need for surgery to be used to determine this, which can potentially place a patient's life at risk.

It can be difficult for medics to correctly diagnose the disease, as its symptoms include bloating and abdominal pain, which are common factors of other illnesses too. However, it is classed as the most aggressive form of gynaelogical cancer. 

The new test has been developed by researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Leuven in a bid to save and lengthen the lives of women suffering from ovarian cancer.

To develop the test, doctors analysed data relating to 3,506 patients from ten European countries who had been diagnosed with the condition between 1999 and 2007, before trialling it with 2,403 individuals from 2009 to 2012. The findings of their research have been published in the British Medical Journal.

Speaking to BBC News, chief executive of the charity Ovarian Cancer Action Katherine Taylor commented: "Anything that makes a diagnosis of ovarian cancer easier, earlier and quicker ... is very much needed. Awareness of this disease among women and GPs is key.

"Ovarian cancer is the UK's most deadly gynaecological disease, with over 7,000 cases diagnosed every year."

Ms Taylor added that women tend to have a 90 per cent chance of surviving for another five years if the disease is diagnosed early, while just 22 per cent live for this long if their ovarian cancer is only detected at a later stage.

Expert Opinion
Regular reviews of the care received by patients, particularly those suffering from cancer, is vital as medical advances are constantly occurring and new technology can be used to improve diagnosis and treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment plays a critical role in the chances of patients surviving and recovering from the disease and the development of this new test for ovarian cancer is a positive step forward.

“In our work we have seen first-hand the consequences of misdiagnosis or delays in the diagnosis of diseases, such as cancer, and it is crucial everything possible is done to improve the screening process and patients are able to access the treatment that could lead to an earlier diagnosis and the start of treatment.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner

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