Researchers Work to Create Screening Tool for Early or Pre-cancerous OC

Researchers Work to Create Screening Tool for Early or Pre-cancerous OC
Researchers from Clemson University and doctors from South Carolina's Prisma Health-Upstate are collaborating to develop a screening tool that can identify ovarian cancer in its earlier stages, or even before it arises. Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest for women. The best way to increase survival is to screen for it before patients develop symptoms and the cancer advances. Current research indicates that the cervical mucus, a fluid secreted by the cervix, undergoes changes during the pre-cancerous stage. Thus, researchers hope to identify these changes and develop a tool that will be easy to use, similar to undergoing a pap smear. "Of all the advanced-stage ovarian cancer patients, which make up about 75 percent of the cases, only 10-15 percent will survive," Larry Puls, director of gynecologic oncology at Prisma Health Cancer Institute, said in a press release. "But if you can find it when it's confined to just the ovary alone, 90 percent of patients beat their cancer. If we could shift women out of stage 3 and into stage 1, we can make a huge impact on this disease. We can even make a bigger impact if we could find a pre-cancerous change." At this point, there is no simple, reliable technique to screen for the presence of ovarian cancer, particularly in women who don’t show any symptoms. Furthermore, none of the tests used to find evidence of ovarian cancer works when the disease is in the pre-cancerous stage. "People have looked at pelvic exams, blood tests and transvaginal ultrasonography as screening tools and none of it has worked as we would like,” Puls said. "To this day, there is no ade
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