Screening could prevent ovarian cancer deaths new research reveals
THE world’s biggest ovarian cancer screening trial, which involved 10,000 women from Teesside, has suggested that tests based on an annual blood sample could reduce deaths by about 20 per cent.
During the 14-year study of more than 200,000 post-menopausal women, ovarian cancer was diagnosed in 1,282 women, of whom 649 had died of the disease by the trial end in December 2014.
The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough was one of 13 centres involved, with 10,000 local women aged between 50 and 74 contributing to the first trial of its kind which has moved early detection of the disease one step closer.
Early results, published in the Lancet, suggested that approximately 15 ovarian cancer deaths could be prevented for every 10,000 women who attend a screening programme that involves annual blood tests for between seven to 11 years.
The trial also confirmed previous findings that on average, for every three women who had surgery as a result of an abnormal screen, one woman had ovarian cancer while two women did not.
However, a spokeswoman for Cancer Research UK said that while this was important research, the charity would not yet be recommending a national screening programme.”
The UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) is an international ovarian cancer screening trial, led by UCL and funded by the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, Department of Health and The Eve Appeal.
Derek Cruickshank, a consultant in gynaecological oncology at The James Cook University Hospital, said: “Thousands of women on Teesside felt this was an important enough health issue to take part and the trial has been incredibly useful in improving our understanding of ovarian cancer as well as raising awareness.”
Professor Usha Menon, UCL Women’s Health, who co-led the trial and receives research funding from Abcodia, said: “UKCTOCS has been an immense research effort spanning 14 years, over 200,000 women and 700,000 annual screens.Finally we have data which suggests that screening may prevent ovarian cancer deaths. This is welcome news and provides fresh impetus for renewed efforts in this area.”
Dr Fiona Reddington, Cancer Research UK’s head of population research, said: “This trial has been incredibly useful in improving our understanding of ovarian cancer.
“Detecting it early is vital to make sure that patients have the best treatment options and that more women can survive the disease.“It’s uncertain whether or not screening can reduce ovarian cancer deaths overall. While this is an important step in ovarian cancer research, we would not recommend a national screening programme at this point.”
Athena Lamnisos, CEO of The Eve Appeal, added: “These results don’t necessarily signal the introduction of a national screening programme, but they are an exciting step forward for early detection of ovarian cancer. Medical research takes time to shift from the lab bench to the hospital bedside; today, the UKCTOCS results move early detection one step closer.”