FDA Warns Ovarian Cancer Screening Doesn’t Work
The FDA is warning that despite studies and claims of possible advanced screening tests for ovarian cancer, there is not a test currently sensitive enough to give an accurate result. These tests are unreliable and could lead to a false diagnosis.
This year, the National Cancer Institute estimates more than 22,000 women between ages 35 and 74 will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. When detected at its earliest stages, the five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is 90%. Unfortunately, only about 20 percent of all cases are discovered at this stage. Nearly 15,000 women a year, die from the disease.
Doctors normally do not discover this cancer until it is too late. Many medical professionals use blood screening tests to aid in diagnosis. CA 125 is the most widely used. This test measures the amount of protein CA 125 found in the blood. Certain cancers, including ovarian cancer, may raise the level of CA 125. However, many things can raise this level, not just cancer. No organization recommends this blood test to screen for ovarian cancer, yet the medical community has been using it extensively.
The FDA is warning women to be aware that there is no safe and effective screening test. Do not rely on screening test results. Talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk of developing ovarian cancer. Also, they recommend that physicians do not perform this screen. Instead, they should refer high-risk patients to a genetic counselor or oncologist.