Strategy For Early Diagnosis Of Ovarian Cancer May Reduce Mortality.

Strategy For Early Diagnosis Of Ovarian Cancer May Reduce Mortality.

The CBS Evening News (12/17, story 7, 1:20, Pelley, 5.08M) reported on a study published in The Lancet on a new strategy for earlier diagnosis of ovarian cancer. CBS explained, “It’s estimated more than 14,000 women in the US will die this year from ovarian cancer,” often because diagnosis of the disease comes “too late to be cured.” The study, based on data from over 200,000 women in Great Britain indicates that “a series of blood tests called CA125” can identify women to be given “a pelvic ultrasound.” The result was “a 15 percent lower chance of dying from ovarian cancer.”   Dr Ryan this was thought to be true 20 years ago and just was not fully acted on

The New York Times (12/18, Grady, Subscription Publication, 11.64M) reports that researchers said that continued follow up is necessary “to determine whether the benefits hold up.” The reason is that the findings “passed only two of three tests of statistical significance, which means that the apparent benefits of screening might have been due to chance.” ( And that was why)  While earlier efforts had made use of CA125 and ultrasound, they had resulted in “too many false-positive results.” The new strategy is based on a series of CA125 tests, identifying women to be given ultrasound by “a mathematical formula that took into account a woman’s age and the degree of change in CA125 over time, and calculated a risk score.” Experts questioned expressed skepticism, as Dr. Saundra S. Buys of the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute put it, “It’s a lot of screening for a small amount of benefit.” According to the study, “641 women had to be screened annually for 14 years,” for each life saved. point well made dr ryan

CBS News (12/18, 4.1M) reports on its website that “women who underwent screening with the blood tests showed significantly lower mortality rates from ovarian cancer.”NBC News (12/18, Fox, 3.32M) reports on its website, that the study is the “first real hint that there might be a way to screen women for ovarian cancer,” though it is “not ready for prime time yet.” The blood test could possibly be conducted as part of an annual physical. The story also points out that the National Cancer Institute has recommended that patients with ovarian cancer receive “chemotherapy delivered directly to the abdomen.” After it was pioneered  by the writer of my book foreword decades ago but not accepted into mainstream

STAT (12/18, Begley) reports the test screens “for a blood protein linked to ovarian cancer” and that it failed “to detect a large fraction of ovarian cancers,” and also produced a number of false positives. In addition, “women whose ovarian cancer was detected early died anyway.” Still, the study indicated “that screening can avert one in five deaths from ovarian cancer…a long-sought ray of hope.”

TIME (12/18, Park, 19.1M) explains that menstruation and pregnancy can also cause CA125 levels to rise. True but pretty easy to deal with

MedPage Today (12/18, Bankhead, 223K) reports that Don Dizon, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and a clinical expert for the American Society of Clinical Oncology, said, “I’m underwhelmed,” adding that the advance summary “was a bit misleading. It’s a hopeful study, regarding the benefits of screening, but the picture is still incomplete. If anything, it should spur on research, but it is by no means a green light to start screening the general population.” I agree but it oneod those but would ask my wife to go through anyual screen and see her risk score- YUP

BBC News (UK) (12/18, Gallagher, 1.57M) reports that the study indicates that “an annual blood test may cut ovarian cancer deaths by a fifth.” The Telegraph (UK) (12/18, Knapton, 1.18M) reports that “one in five ovarian cancer deaths could be prevented” by the screening. Still, the researchers said that they “would not recommend a national screening programme at this point.”

The study was also covered by AFP (12/18), Medscape (12/18, Lowry, 258K), and HealthDay (12/18, Reinberg, 22K).

It is important for readers to see how not so straightforward Oncology can be No one wants to take a false positive scared to death woman to the OR spend a fortune on a screen that caused reat anxiety and not clearly led to a big benefit. I think they are on to something and have thought so for 25 years


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