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Symptoms and Screening for ovarian cancer


 - Symptoms and Screening for ovarian cancer
© Creatas
If symptoms are present they can include pain or swelling in the abdomen without weight gain, pain in the pelvis and gastrointestinal problems such as gas, bloating or changes in bowel habits or constipation, frequency in passing urine or unexplained vaginal bleeding.

Identification often only comes when an operation is performed to find the cause of these unexplained symptoms.

To date no effective screening program exists for ovarian cancer, but clinical trials are underway. CA125, a ‘tumor marker’ for ovarian cancer, can be found in the blood when tumor cells are present, but doesn’t show up in every case, and so is not a fail-safe screening method. But it is promising, and multiple centers across the UK are currently running a collaborative study evaluating CA125 blood tests and vaginal ultrasound scanning of the ovaries of 200,000 women.

‘The UKCTOCS trial is the largest of its kind investigating ovarian cancer screening,’ said Professor Ian Jacobs, Director of the UCL Institute for Women’s Health. ‘If the findings are positive, my hope is that what we learn will pave the way for a national ovarian cancer screening program.’


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