Unregulated Ovarian Cancer Test With Life-Saving Potential Is Not Without Risk

Illustration for article titled Unregulated Ovarian Cancer Test With Life-Saving Potential Is Not Without Risk

There's a new test for ovarian cancer called OvaSure, and some doctors are optimistic that the test could catch the cancer before spreads out of the ovaries and into the rest of the body. According to the New York Times, The need for such a test is immense (as is the need for a less embarrassing name - "OvaSure" sounds like a chocolate breakfast drink): "When ovarian cancer is detected at its earliest stage, when it is still confined to the ovaries, more than 90 percent of women will live at least five years, according to the American Cancer Society," the Times reports. After ovarian cancer spreads beyond the ovaries the survival rate drops dramatically, with about 30% of women living five years or more. Since at this point, only 20% of ovarian cancers are caught early, OvaSure sounds like a panacea for high risk women, right? Well, not exactly.Doctors are concerned that OvaSure, which is currently offered by only one lab called LabCorp, will cause women to get their ovaries removed unnecessarily. "Even if a screening test had a 1 percent rate of false positives, it would mean that 30 out of 3,000 women tested might be subject to unnecessary surgery for every one real case of cancer," the Times points out. Also, the test is as yet unregulated by the FDA, because, "the agency generally has not regulated tests developed and performed by a single laboratory, as opposed to test kits that are sold to laboratories, hospitals and doctors." As with the controversial cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil, OvaSure needs to be tested more thoroughly before any definitive statements are made about its efficacy. If you had a serious family history of ovarian cancer, would you be willing to take a fairly unproven test that's right most of the time? Cancer Test For Women Raises Hope, And Concern [NY Times]



If I'd already had behbehs, I would take some time to think about it, but I'd be less discerning to go ahead with the procedure. If I hadn't had kids yet, I would be a lot more reticent. I mean, the hormonal crap one has to go through after removing reproductive organs sucks no matter when you do it, but I'd rather put up with that than cancer if I've already finished using all those bits.

@Papershoes: Hooray! Mazel tov!