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Ovarian Cancer Regular blood tests could help detect disease early, research suggests

  • Published in Nutrition

Regular blood tests can detect 86% of ovarian cancers before the point at which women normally would be diagnosed, BBC reports.

This has been revealed by a trial that could lead to national screening.

According to the first results of the 14-year trial of more than 46,000 women conducted by a University College London team, it is suggested that tumours can be detected early.

Ovarian tumours are often deadly as they are caught too late owing to their symptoms, including abdominal pain, persistent bloating and difficulty eating, that are common in other conditions.

Ovarian tumours spew out high levels of a chemical called CA125, which is already used as a test if patients have symptoms.

According to BBC, the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening performed annual blood tests on post-menopausal women across 13 NHS Trusts, tracking changes in the levels of CA125 over time and if levels became elevated then the women were sent for further tests including an ultrasound scan.

The trial results, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, showed 86% of cancers were picked up.

Speaking on the discovery, Prof Usha Menon, from University College London said:

"It's good, but the truth lies in whether we've picked up the cancer early enough to save lives, we hope we have. There is no screening at the moment so we are awaiting the results before the NHS can decide. Many people would have to be screened so it really needs to translate to lives saved."

The mortality data is expected later in the year.

Meanwhile, researchers are hopeful that the prospect of blood tests detecting ovarian cancer early is a good one, as early detection could increase chances of survival.

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