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Ovarian cancer screenings are essentially useless

Posted: December 11, 2011 at 11:44 am


A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society (ACS) Cancer has found that current ovarian cancer screening technologies do virtually nothing to decrease the overall death rate from the disease. Laura Havrilesky, MD, MHSc, and her team from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, discovered that in many cases, ovarian cancer progresses so fast that screenings are unable to detect a problem until it is too late.

"If we assume ovarian cancers grow and spread at different rates, the best screening strategy available will only reduce the number of women dying from this cancer by 11 percent," Havrilesky is quoted as saying. "This is partially because the slower growing cancers are more likely to be caught by a screening test."

So the team has concluded that the best way to deal with ovarian cancer is to try harder to prevent it, and develop better methods of treating it. Because there is really one no way to determine the nature of ovarian cancer from patient to patient, there is also no single conventional method that effectively recognizes each unique type and its eventual progression rate. Read more...

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