According to an article posted on NBC News.com, clinical trials based on a new study at the University of Texas have set out to assess the efficacy of a new screening method for early stages of ovarian cancer. If results from the trials are positive, the screening could become a routine procedure for all women.
The study lasted for 11 years and screened more than 4,000 women. The screening involved yearly blood tests that recorded levels of the protein known as CA-125. This type of protein is produced by most ovarian tumors. Women who were found to have increases in their levels of CA-125 were sent to a gynecologist and received an ultrasound.
Of the 10 women who received ultrasounds, four had early stages of ovarian cancer, five had benign ovarian tumors, and one had endometrial cancer. The results of the study suggested that the screening had an accuracy rate of 99.0 percent, with only 0.1 percent of patients without the disease being falsely identified as having cancer.
There are currently no established screening tests for ovarian cancer. Challenges to establishing a screening have included an inability to make the tests sensitive enough and the need for tests to be highly specific. Previous tests measuring CA-125 have been based on levels averaged across the general population, rather than assessing or recognizing the significance of increases in the protein level in an individual patient.
Currently, researchers are waiting for a larger study in the United Kingdom to be concluded, with results set to be published in 2015. Should the study show the screening to be an effective means of early detection, the standard of care regarding screening for and diagnosis of ovarian cancer could change across the United States.
Continued improvements in cancer screenings are helpful in early stage diagnosis of disease. However, a healthcare professional’s failure to timely diagnose ovarian cancer can affect prognosis, as ovarian cancer is fatal in later stages.
If you or a loved one has been affected by a professional’s failure to diagnose cancer or any disease process, call the New Jersey failure to diagnose cancer attorneys at Blume Forte for a no-cost consultation at (973) 635-5400.