Blood tests may be the key to the early detection - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/21/10

Blood tests may be the key to the early detection of cervical cancer

By Karin McCay| email

Edited by Kristin Beerman | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest forms of disease with over 70% of women diagnosed in the later stages, once it has already spread. Unlike cervical or breast cancer, there's no screening test to spot it early.  Now a small study is showing promise that one day, women will be able to get checked for ovarian cancer before it's too late. The key could be CA 125, a well known blood marker used to determine whether ovarian cancer has come back in patients already treated for the disease. It hasn't been a reliable marker in predicting ovarian cancer until now.

Dr. Karen Lu at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center In Texas measured CA 125 levels in 3,000 healthy women every year for eight years and found tracking the levels over time helped spot that cancer early in some women.

"Of the five ovarian cancers that we detected, three of them were the high grade, invasive ovarian cancers all of which were caught in the early stage," said Dr. Lu.

Dr. Lu says more study is needed and already, a larger study is underway in the U.K., involving 200,000 women, which will end in 2015.  Researchers hope by then they'll know whether this test should become part of a woman's regular screening.

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