Experts of cancer prevention have, for a long time, felt the need for a meaningful way to screen women for possible ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is a rare disease and one of its key problems is lack of substantial symptoms that render an early diagnosis almost impossible.
By the time it is diagnosed, the cancer cells spread far enough. Besides, another major problem is that the biomarker used in screening, CA125, is also associated to other disorders.
And as per the latest findings by scientists at the Duke Cancer Institute, it would appear that the potential value of screening has become more insignificant. MD Laura Havrilesky states that a whole lot of work needs to be done to protect women from this deadly disease. Apart from finding preventive strategies, a better approach to screening has to be found.
It has, recently, come to light that contrary to the established norm that considers ovarian cancer as a single disease, it has got two subtypes- one is a slow form that takes years for advancement while the other is a vigorous Type that moves on to the next stages in much quicker time.
The research team, led by Laura Havrilesky, has used information in the SEER database to design a model that screens ovarian cancer. The model suggests that screening may curtail the rate of ovarian cancer amidst 50-plus US women by as much as 15 percent. However, while incorporating the two subtypes, the model could predict a fall in deaths by only 11 percent. Havrilesky agrees with the prediction of the model.
However, another senior investigator Patricia Hartge maintains that screening for women who are at a higher risk of ovarian cancer may benefit them more. But Havrilesky has her doubts and cites that benefits of screening even in higher risk population have yet not surfaced and experts may have to resort to some futuristic method.