This blood test could detect ovarian cancer two years earlier than current methodsSeptember 6, 2019
Scientists are hopeful that they’ve found a new way of testing blood that could detect ovarian cancer a whole two years earlier than the current methods used, massively reducing the risk of the disease being deadly for those afflicted with it.
The researchers, from Queen’s University in Belfast, have found that measuring four specific proteins together can pick up cancer early, at a stage when nine in 10 women will survive the disease. They analysed blood samples from 80 women over a seven-year-period to get the results, developing a special algorithm to detect abnormal levels of proteins.
It could be a breakthrough in cancer research, as ovarian cancer is considered one of the deadliest, largely due to the fact that its symptoms are vague or absent until the later stages, when the chances of surviving for five years is just 22 per cent.
“We are extremely excited about these results, however, they are at an early stage,” Dr Bobby Graham, who led the study, told The Telegraph. “This needs to be tested in separate larger cohorts, which we are currently doing.”
The test detects the most common type of ovarian cancer (known as ‘epithelial ovarian cancer’), which, in 2016, claimed 4,227 lives. If diagnosed at stage one, a woman has a 90 per cent chance of five-year survival.
Dr Rachel Shaw, research information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “Around half of ovarian cancer cases are picked up at a late stage, when treatment is less likely to be successful. So developing simple tests like these that could help detect the disease sooner is essential.
“At Cancer Research UK, we’re working hard to find new ways to detect cancer early and improve the tests already available. It’s really exciting to see these encouraging results for this type of ovarian cancer.”