Gynaecological cancers

Finding better tests for ovarian cancer

Wellbeing of Women has provided £19,470 to Dr Garth Funston to find new early-stage tests for ovarian cancer

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Ovarian cancer is the sixth most-common cancer in women; around 7,000 are diagnosed with the disease each year in the UK and less than half of patients with the disease survive for five years after their diagnosis.

However, thanks to Wellbeing of Women funding, Dr Garth Funston of the University of Manchester hopes to revolutionise blood testing for ovarian cancer.

A difficult diagnosis

Symptoms of ovarian cancer – such as bloating and discomfort – can be difficult to recognise, which makes diagnosing the disease even harder.

“Unfortunately, ovarian cancer is not diagnosed until late on for the majority of women, making it much more difficult to treat effectively,” Dr Garth Funston says.

“A new test is urgently needed to aid early detection and treatment of women suffering from ovarian cancer.”

Funston’s goals

The aim of Dr Funston’s research is to improve doctors’ knowledge of cancer markers: signs of cancer that can be found in a blood sample.

Doing so could help health professionals diagnose ovarian cancer earlier.

“In this study, we’ll compare the performance of a new blood marker for ovarian cancer, HE4, with the standard blood test performed in patients presenting to their GP with symptoms that might indicate ovarian cancer,” Dr Funston explains.

Dr Funston hopes that the research will lead to a test that is better at detecting ovarian cancer in women early on.

“This could have a positive impact on the care of women throughout the country.”

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