ovarian cancer
© Kunchit Jantana |

A new test developed at Queen’s University could allow ovarian cancer to be diagnosed at a stage up to two years earlier than current methods

The test relies on the detection of a biomarker revealing the presence of the disease in a patient’s blood. This offers patients a way to higher survival rates in a cancer that is picked up, in the majority of cases, at a late stage when treatment options are limited.

Figures released by the ONS reiterate the importance of early diagnosis for cancer treatments. While four of the most common cancers saw a fall in survival rates, the chances of surviving some common cancers for five years or more is now around 100%. So why is it that more people are dying unnecessarily? The answer more often than not comes down to the stage of diagnosis.

5-year survival stage 1 diagnosis vs stage 4

  • Lung cancer 56.6% vs 2.9%
  • Prostate cancer 100.1% vs 49%
  • Breast cancer 97.9% vs 26.2%
  • Colorectal 91.7% vs 10.3%
  • Kidney 86.8% vs 12.4%

When dealing with serious illness, especially cancer, a fast, accurate and timely diagnosis is imperative in allowing patients the best possible chance of survival. Catching cancer at an early stage not only results in a less serious problem to treat but also leaves more options at a doctor’s disposal. Whilst research into innovative treatments and novel solutions to late stage cancers will often grab the headlines, it is likely that in future better diagnosis and screening will have a greater impact of survival rates and the current funding deficit that exists within the NHS.

Wesley Baker, CEO of ANCON Medical offers the following commentary:

“Early diagnosis is one of the most important factors when it comes to surviving cancer so this news will provide a boost to future sufferers of ovarian cancer if the screening can be proven to work effectively. While treatments for cancer are advancing rapidly, diagnosis technology has somewhat lagged behind; a concerning trend when as statistics demonstrate, early diagnosis is key to higher survival rates.

It is shocking to see that so many people are still dying from diseases such as prostate cancer – nearly 12,000 a year – which if caught early is almost always survivable. It is also not only easily treatable cancers that benefit; lung cancer is 20 times more survivable if caught early, and being one of the most deadly forms of cancer this could prove vital. More impetus should be put on catching these diseases early if we are to make a serious dent in the number of lives cancer claims each and every year. “


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