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New test will diagnose ovarian cancer more accurately

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Ovarian cancer could be diagnosed more accurately with a new test created by scientists at Imperial College London.

The test is designed to distinguish malignant tumours from benign cysts. It will also identify how aggressive a tumour is. It uses patient information, blood test results and ultrasound scans to diagnose malignancy in tumours, as well as the stage of the cancer if it is detected. If successful, the test will be an improvement on current practice, as ovarian cancer is usually difficult to diagnose early, as symptoms such as abdominal pain are linked with other common illnesses.

Katherine Taylor, chief executive of the charity Ovarian Cancer Action , said: 'Anything that makes a diagnosis of ovarian cancer easier, earlier and quicker – like this tumour blood marker test - that gets women tailored treatment sooner is very much needed. When women are diagnosed in the early stages of ovarian cancer they have a 90 per cent chance of surviving the next five years, this reduces down to a 22 per cent chance of survival if women are diagnosed with a later stage cancer. Awareness of this disease among women and primary care nurses is key. Ovarian cancer is the UK's most deadly gynaceological disease, with over 7000 cases diagnosed every year.'

The aim of the test is to reduce the rates of unnecessary surgery in ovarian cancer patients.

Researchers developed the test by analysing data from 1999 to 2007 of 3506 patients in 10 European countries, including the UK. They then trialed the test with a further 2403 patients between 2009 to 2012. The findings were published in BMJ.

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