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Screening 'failing to detect early-stage ovarian cancers'

Ovarian cancer screening is failing to detect early-stage cancers, according to early results from a UK study.

The UK study found that 61% of the women who developed ovarian cancer after being screened for the disease were diagnosed late, and had cancer that was advanced or had spread through their body.

Study leader, Professor Gareth Evans, professor of medical genetics at the University of Manchester, said that women who were at high risk of developing cancer could not rely on screening to detect cancer and should take preventative measures, such as ovary removal.

He said: 'At the moment they can't rely on screening. Once they've completed their family and if they're over 40, they should consider having their ovaries removed.'

'It's a pretty small procedure. You've been through the menopause so you're not going to plunge into hot flushes and other symptoms. If your life expectancy is 85, you could lose 25 years of your life and die within a year if ovarian cancer hits.'

The study found currently only a fifth of women over 60, and 50% of breast cancer survivors, chose to have their ovaries removed within eight years of finding they were genetically predisposed to developing ovarian cancer.

The study was presented today at the British Society for Human Genetics Annual Conference, held at the University of Warwick.

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