Saturday, May 22, 2010

New ovarian cancer screening is on the way.

Chris spotted this important health news in the Detroit Free Press(via the AP.)

This is so important to us because we both have ovarian cancer in our respective family histories. My aunt Ruth succumbed to the disease before age 40. Details of her case are sketchy, because I have some gaps in my family's health history.

Chris' maternal grandmother also died from ovarian cancer. By the time it was discovered, it was too far advanced and she couldn't be saved.

Her scenario is all too common. In fact, 80% of cases are found at the advanced stage. The disease does not present many symptoms in its early stages and can go overlooked, with deadly results.

Now, it's possible that a simple blood test followed by ultrasound exams, as needed, can find ovarian tumors before they cause symptoms and without giving too many false alarms.

A study of 3,000 American is not large enough to justify screening by this method now -- but it does confirm results from a much larger study under way in England.

Important too is that this method can find aggressive, life-threatening tumors without putting many healthy women through unnecessary follow-up tests.

About 21,550 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States last year. Of those cases, 14,600 died. That's almost 68%.

The good news is that, if found early, the five-year survival for ovarian cancer is 94%.

We urge you to look into your health history and talk with your gynecologist if you have a close relative -- the number one risk factor -- who contracted ovarian cancer.

Let's get the word out and push for this screening -- it could save lives.

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