Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer among women, but among the deadliest, according to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, a nonprofit aimed at educating people about the disease. One reason stems from the lack of reliable screening tests for the cancer, so doctors tend to catch it in its later stages, when it has spread to other organs. That's why the five-year survival rate for women with ovarian cancer is roughly 46 percent, a number that hasn't budged in 40 years.
Now, thanks to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, a screening test to catch ovarian cancer in its early stages may be on the horizon. Scientists found biomarkers--molecules that are released by tumors or by the body as it fights the cancer--that were more than 90 percent accurate in diagnosing ovarian cancer in its early stages.
The blood samples were taken from roughly 100 women, half of whom had stage one or two cancer and half of whom had no cancer at all. The cancer patients came from a broad geographical area stretching from Canada to Atlanta.
The next step--using a wider sample of women, and then making the test available to doctors and their patients.