New ‘test’ for Ovarian Cancer? Did you see the recent headlines??

The press was recently all a buzz about a new screening method that may be able to identify people at risk of ovarian cancer. Since I’m currently still on maternity leave I thought I should probably have a read about this before re-entering the world of work, and thought I’d share my findings with you all.

abdo ussOvarian Cancer is particularly nasty disease. It typically presents quite late, by which time the cancer can be fairly well established and treatment options are more limited. The main reason this happens is because the symptoms of ovarian cancer are very vague and insidious. There is no ‘lump’ to find or blood to see – so vague niggling symptoms can go unnoticed and unchecked for many months. An easy and quick test would be quite literally life saving for thousands of women, but as yet there is no such magic investigation.

The Ca125 blood test has been around for a long time and is what is known as a ‘marker’ for ovarian cancer. Unfortunately its not always that helpful a test, as it can be entirely normal in patients who have cancer, and can be elevated in patients without cancer. So although it’s often a helpful guide, it is not entirely reliable. For this reason the Ca125 blood test is usually used with some caution, and is completely unsatisfactory for a national screening programme.

blood testHowever all this may change. Clever boffins at UCL have found a way to interpret the Ca125 test result more accurately – using additional bits of information and examining subtle fluctuations in the test. They followed up a massive 46,237 women for a 14 year time period and checked their Ca125 levels annually. They looked at how each person’s level of Ca125 changed over time and with age. From that were able to try and predict who was more likely to develop ovarian cancer. The study picked up 86% of cases of the disease, which is about twice as many as previous screening techniques.

So far, so good. As always with headline news stories there are a couple of questions that as yet remain unanswered. Firstly although the new test seems to be very good at detecting the cancer, it isn’t entirely clear yet if it actually makes a difference to prognosis. If it isn’t helping save lives it isn’t much help to anyone. Secondly the study was carried out on post-menopausal women, so this analysis and testing may not be as valuable in younger women.

Still, this is massive news and maybe in a few years going to have your annual Ca125 blood test will be as normal as attending for a mammogram or smear test. Here’s hoping…..

Hats off to the clever scientists.

For more information about the symptoms of ovarian cancer have a look at the weblink below.. cancer research

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blythe's Blog

A Food Lover's Blog

One Yummy Mummy

Award winning Irish Parenting and Family Food blog

Confessions Of A Crummy Mummy

A UK lifestyle and parenting blog

The Mad Momma

The days are long but the years are short

The Mom in Me, MD

relevant insight into infertility, pregnancy, mothering, women & children's health, travel, fashion, fitness, food, and fun

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

thechattydoctor.wordpress.com/

medical information for you & your family

%d bloggers like this: