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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 21:23 EDT

First Day of Ovarian Cancer Symposium Focuses on Early Detection

September 4, 2008

Leading ovarian cancer researchers and clinicians from around the world gathered at the Ovarian Cancer Research Symposium today to hear about cutting-edge developments that may increase the chances of early detection of the disease.

Dr. Patricia Kruk, from the University of South Florida, presented her research that could lead to using a non-invasive urine test for detecting ovarian cancer. Kruk said her research found that the amount of Bcl-2 levels was generally negligible in urine samples from healthy women and low in women with benign gynecologic disease. In contrast, urinary levels of Bcl-2 in women with ovarian and primary peritoneal cancer were over 10 times that of healthy controls.

“We have submitted a patent for the urine test,” said Dr. Kruk. “We plan to conduct further research and eventually make it available for patients in the future.”

Until a new cost-effective and accurate screening, like the Bcl-2 urine test is found, researchers all agree it is critical for women to know the symptoms of ovarian cancer. The symptoms include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly after eating, and urinary symptoms such as increased urgency or frequency.

Dr. Robyn Andersen from Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Research Center, has been researching these symptoms to develop another method of early detection. This would use a patient’s description of the symptoms they are experiencing, combined with their CA125 blood test results, to detect whether the patient has ovarian cancer. The patient’s description of their symptoms is translated into a diagnostic tool developed by Dr. Andersen and her team called the “Ovarian Cancer Symptom Index.” The index results are then paired with the results from the patient’s CA125 blood test.

“When the two tests are combined, the diagnosis of whether or not the patient has ovarian cancer is much more accurate than when just looking at the blood test individually,” said Dr. Andersen.

To schedule an interview with the founder of the Rivkin Center, Saul Rivkin, Executive Director Nancy Sclater, or with one of the symposium presenters, please contact Lee Keller at (206) 799-3805, lee@thekellergroup.com or Jocelyn Moore at (206) 215-6202, jocelyn.moore@swedish.org.

The Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research was founded in 1996 by Saul Rivkin, M.D., in memory of his wife who succumbed to ovarian cancer. It has been the catalyst for national and international research efforts aimed at finding solutions to ovarian cancer. The Center is dedicated to saving lives and reducing suffering through improved treatment, early detection and prevention of ovarian cancer. For more information, visit www.marsharivkin.org.