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Ovarian cancer news: Blood test could DIAGNOSE deadly type EARLY before symptoms

CANCER of the ovaries often doesn’t show symptoms until the later stages. However, a blood test could soon be used to diagnose the condition.

Ovarian cancer kills just over 4,000 women a year, and is the fifth most common cause of death among females in the UK.

Many women will not show symptoms – which can include bloating, abdominal pain and trouble eating – in the early stages, and often signs could be confused with other less serious issues.

This means that in many sufferers it is only spotted when it reaches an advanced stage.

However, scientists may have discovered a new way to diagnose ovarian cancer early.

Research by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, United States has developed a blood test that could identify ovarian cancer before it has progressed too much.

They have enlisted artificial intelligence – a growing area of computer science – to devise a technique that could accurately identify it.

This could dramatically improve survival rates – only about a quarter of women with advanced cases survive for at least five years.

Ovarian cancerGETTY

Ovarian cancer: It is the fifth biggest cause of death in women in the UK

Ovarian cancer kills just over 4,000 women a year, and is the fifth most common cause of death among females in the UK.Many women will not show symptoms – which can include bloating, abdominal pain and trouble eating – in the early stages, and often signs could be confused with other less serious issues.This means that in many sufferers it is only spotted when it reaches an advanced stage.However, scientists may have discovered a new way to diagnose ovarian cancer early.

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Ovarian cancer: Researchers have developed a blood test that could accurately diagnose it

The findings could dramatically improve survival rates – only about a quarter of women with advanced cases of ovarian cancer survive for at least five years.

Research by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, United States has developed a blood test that could identify ovarian cancer before it has progressed too much.They have enlisted artificial intelligence – a growing area of computer science – to devise a technique that could accurately identify it.This could dramatically improve survival rates – only about a quarter of women with advanced cases survive for at least five years.If the cancer is caught early, survival rates are much higher.

Previous studies have found that other early detection tests for ovarian cancer – such as ultrasound or detection of the protein CA125 – don’t have much of an impact on survival rates.This led the authors of the new study to search for a third, more accurate, option.They realised that ovarian cancer cells and normal cells have different microRNA profiles – which are markers in the blood that can indicate health or disease.Using microRNAs in blood samples from 135 women, they discovered that the technique was far better at predicting ovarian cancer than an ultrasound test.

Ovarian cancerGETTY

Ovarian cancer: Symptoms include bloating and abdominal pain

With ultrasound, fewer than five percent of abnormal test results would be ovarian cancer, almost 100 percent of abnormal results using the microRNA test actually represented ovarian cancer.“The key is that this test is very unlikely to misdiagnose ovarian cancer and give a positive signal when there is no malignant tumour,” said senior author Dipanjan Chowdhury.“This is the hallmark of an effective diagnostic test.”Ovarian cancer is relatively rare compared to other benign gynaecological conditions, like ovarian cysts.

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