September 23, 2008

Ovarian Cancer Test is Under Fire

OvaSure, the much bally-hooed new diagnostic blood test for early detection of ovarian cancer, is still causing much consternation.

In June, after it was introduced to the marketplace, doctors began taking sides on the risks and benefits offered by the test, which has yet to be validated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In August, the FDA labeled the marketing of the individual tests as a potential public health risk.

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, when physicians and researchers re-emphasize that ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all gynecological cancers and the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths in American women.

"What women need to realize," says John R. van Nagell, director of gynecologic oncology at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, "is that the test doesn't diagnose anything. This predicts whether in the presence of ovarian tumors there is a risk of malignancy. What if it's wrong?"

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