The main point of ovarian cancer screening is to find the cancer cells at the earliest stage possible when the chances for curing are the highest. Before the test could be performed, the doctors should have a precise test at their hands.
The results should be reliable and it should not give a false positive.
The sad truth regarding screening for ovarian cancer is that there is no method of screening that could be used by the entire population.
Nonetheless there are some clinical trials working with tests that could be generally used or used by women who are at high risk.
CA125 blood test as screening for ovarian cancer
CA125 is known to be a tumor marker in case of ovarian cancer. The tumor marker is a kind of chemical released by the cancerous cells into the bloodstream.
Patients with ovarian cancer have more CA125 in their blood than the women who aren’t affected by the cancer.
Although the test seems to be working, there are a few aspects that make it unreliable. One of the problems with this ovarian cancer screening is that only 85% of the women who have cancer have elevated levels of CA125.
In the same time only about 50% of the women who have cancer at an early stage have elevated levels of this marker.
This means that this kind of screening for ovarian cancer cannot use on its own. There is need for other kinds of testing that could make women anxious. There is need for other kind of testing, and this is why the researchers are searching for other markers that they could test for.
It is another kind of ovarian cancer screening. In this case the probe is placed into the vaginal region. The doctor will get a better image of the ovarian than in case the probe is placed above the abdomen. Nonetheless, even in this case it is difficult to distinguish a cyst from cancer.
There are some trials at the moment that it looking for screening for ovarian cancer regarding the entire population. The target group is made of women between 50 and 74. These women have been selected randomly and the selection was done in 2005. During the trial the specialists have been studying vaginal ultrasound and the CA125 levels.
In order to find new methods of ovarian cancer screening, there were three groups formed. The women of the first group CA125 tests were periodically performed, and in this case these have been abnormal, the women received and vaginal ultrasound.
In the second group the women received a periodical vaginal ultrasound as screening for ovarian cancer, and in case that was not normal a CA125 test was also performed. The third group was the test group for the trial, and they did not receive any testing.
During the trial for ovarian cancer screening 58 cancers have been found, but 12 have been missed. Nonetheless half of the cancers have been found before too much damage was done.