Do Annual Screenings Reduce Risk of Death in Ovarian Cancer?
In a large, British ovarian cancer trial sponsored by the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening, 200,000 women were followed for a median of 16 years.
The primary intent of the study was to ascertain if annual screening measures reduced the risk of death from ovarian cancer. The investigators analyzed the women using either screening with a combination of CA-125 (a serum blood test for monitoring cancer) and transvaginal ultrasound (USS) or USS alone. Interestingly, the results indicated that the screening measures were successful at detecting ovarian cancer at an earlier stage of disease. Nevertheless, neither the combination monitoring with the CA-125 and USS nor the USS alone was successful in reducing the risk of death from ovarian cancer.
The investigators analyzed the women using either screening with a combination of CA-125 (a serum blood test for monitoring cancer) and transvaginal ultrasound (USS) or USS alone.
Consequently, the authors concluded that since screening measures did not save lives, they cannot recommend ovarian cancer screening for the general population. Ovarian cancer is an aggressive disease, with a 10-year survival rate of 35%. The malignancy is difficult to diagnose, and more than half the cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage. While screening cannot be recommended at this time, physicians should be vigilant when their patients present with symptoms indicative of ovarian cancer.
About Women’s Cancer Research Foundation The Women’s Cancer Research Foundation (WCRF) is one of Southern California’s and the nation’s most active research organizations for female cancers. We are dedicated to serving the interests of patients, families, and friends affected by women’s cancers. WCRF partners with physician-scientists nationally to make differences in women’s lives by offering hope, strength, and progress.
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