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Screening is effective in early detection of ovarian cancer

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b1084 (Published 17 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1084
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

    Population screening for ovarian cancer is feasible and can detect tumours at an early stage, preliminary results from a large randomised controlled UK trial show (Lancet Oncology 2009 Mar 11, doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(09)70026-9). However, the screening tests missed about 10% of cases of ovarian cancer, and some women had surgery for suspected cancer when they were, in fact, healthy.

    The UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) involves more than 200 000 women. The full mortality results will not be released until 2014, but the results of the preliminary screening have been published.

    The preliminary screening detected 84 primary ovarian and three tubal cancers. Almost half of the cancers detected were at an early stage (I or II). However, 13 ovarian cancers were missed and were diagnosed clinically in the ensuing year.

    Ian Jacobs, director of UKCTOCS and of the University College London Institute for Women’s Health, said, “We have shown that it is possible to detect the majority of women with ovarian cancer before they show symptoms of the disease. This is …

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