This article based on the opinions of Professor Hani Gabra has recently been published. I think it's good news for us all ladies. xxx
Slow but Meaningful Progress in Fight against Ovarian Cancer
Between 2002 and 2010, England saw a drop of more than 20% in ovarian cancer mortality rates, according to a new report from the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN). The report further found that 1-year survival for the disease has markedly improved since the mid-1980s, rising from 57% to 73%, while 5-year survival has increased from 33% to 44%. The past few years have also seen something of a decline in incidence. “During the last 10 years, incidence has decreased mos tnotably in women aged 50–69, and mortality has decreased most notably in women aged 40–69, concluded the authors.
The decreased incidence, explains lead author Andy Nordin (Chair of NCIN Gynaecological Site Specific Clinical References Group, London, UK), can probably be attributed to the introduction of hormonal contra- ceptives in the 1960s. “The com- bined pill, or progesterone-related
contraceptives, reduce the risk of ovarian cancer potentially by 50%”, he told The Lancet Oncology.
A major area of concern is older women. The NCIN report noted that there is “strong evidence that ovarian cancer survival is worse in older women”. Over 80% of deaths from ovarian cancer occur in women over 60 years of age. “We’re doing much better with younger women”, said Nordin. Younger women are more likely to be diagnosed and referred earlier, and are also in better shape to cope with chemotherapy regimens and radical surgery. “It does look like the proportion of women who are diagnosed through emergency presentation goes up significantly with age”, Nordin added.
Improvements in ovarian cancer care in the UK are largely related to the reconfiguration of gynae-oncological services in the wake of the 2000 National Cancer Plan. “Centralisation has provided a much more optimised environment for patients”, affirmed Hani Gabra (Imperial College London, UK). In which case, continuing improvements in 5-year survival can reasonably be expected.
Meanwhile, there is renewed focus on awareness and early diagnosis and detection. Last year, NICE issued guidance for general practitioners on recognising ovarian cancer, and the Department of Health will launch a new ovarian cancer campaign in early 2013. The disease can move quickly to stage III, so these efforts might not lead to patients being diagnosed
at earlier stages, but Gabra pointsout that there is a significant difference in the prospects for those who start treatment early in stage III and those who start later. “Ovarian cancer is fundamentally a disease that is sensitive to treatment”, he concluded. Early diagnosis can make all the difference.
Talha Khan Burki
PublishedOnline December 1, 2012 dx.doi.org/10.1016/ S1470-2045(12)70547-8
For the NCIN report see http:// ncin.org.uk/view. aspx?rid=1740
thelancet.com/oncology Published online December 1, 2012