Early diagnosis is among the biggest challenges in the fight against ovarian cancer. The lack of any reliable method of screening for the cancer often prevents it from being found its early stages. However, a recent article in the Miami Herald describes some of the efforts to develop early detection techniques.
At the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami has opened a new Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Clinic. The aim of the new clinic is to identify women who are at a high risk for ovarian cancer by tracking family personal cancer histories. The hope is that by tracking the data gathered through patients that come through the clinic, that new preventive strategies can be derived.
One of the patients at the clinic, Ivanna Vidal, has the BRCA2 gene which put her at greater risk for ovarian and breast cancers. She was diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian cancer. The goal of the new clinic is to help at-risk women like Vidal learn of their risk factors earlier so that they might be able to better plan to preempt the disease.
The director of the gynecologic oncology division at Sylvester, Dr. Brian Slomovitz, states that women who have BRCA have a 20-40% chance of developing ovarian cancer. Talia Donenberg, senior cancer genetics counselor at the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital claims that the discovery of new genetic links to the disease has caused the rate of hereditary ovarian cancer to jump from 10% to between 15 and 20%.
This data and the fact that there are symptoms of ovarian cancer have made doctors and researchers hopeful that new early detection methods are not too far off.
“In the past, we thought it was a silent disease.” Slomovitz said, “We know now that that’s not the case.”
Read more at the Miami Herald.