Today, new research has been published that has shown a new screening method can detect twice as many women with ovarian cancer as conventional tests. The study, the largest of its kind, uses a new personalised method that monitors changes in CA125 levels rather than using the same absolute cut off level for all.
Led by UCL and funded by the Medical Research Council, the Department of Health, Cancer Research UK and the Eve Appeal, the trial involved 202,638 post-menopausal women aged 50 or over who were randomly assigned to two different annual screening strategies (multimodal screening or transvaginal ultrasound) or no test at all.
UK leading the way in research
Dr Simon Newman, Head of Research for Target Ovarian Cancer, said "These are highly encouraging results, and we are pleased that the UK is leading the way in research to develop screening methods for ovarian cancer. This new personalised method monitors changes in an individual's blood level of the ovarian cancer associated protein CA125, rather than using the same absolute cut off level for all. This personalised test picked up nearly twice as many cancers as the current test, and we are now eagerly awaiting the results of the major screening trial (UKCTOCS) to see if these extra cancers were detected earlier enough to save lives.
“There is currently no ovarian cancer screening programme, and until there is it's absolutely vital for GPs and women to be aware of the symptoms. GPs need to be supported and provided with learning tools so they have the knowledge to diagnose a woman with ovarian cancer early on. It’s also important for women to be aware of the symptoms and not to ignore them – these symptoms are feeling bloated; having trouble eating; needing to wee more urgently and abdominal pain.”
- Find out more about CA125