Oct. 22--A 26-year research study at the University of Kentucky has found that
annual screenings can detect ovarian cancer at an earlier stage than is possible
with a clinical examination.
So far, more than 241,000 free screening examinations have been provided by the
UK Markey Cancer Center's Ovarian Screening Program to more than 41,000 Kentucky
women. Through the screenings, 558 ovarian tumors and 86 malignancies have been
Currently, screenings are performed at seven locations throughout the state,
including Lexington, Elizabethtown, Somerset, Prestonsburg, Maysville, Paducah
Screenings can be critical because ovarian cancer has no symptoms until it is
well-advanced. Ovarian cancer is ranked fifth among cancer killers for American
women and accounts for more cancer-related deaths than any other gynecological
malignancy. When caught early, ovarian cancer can usually be treated
First Lady Jane Beshear visited UK Tuesday to encourage more women to get the
"Often times, women put their families' needs before their own, which can cause
easily detectable illnesses to go untreated and possibly cause severe or
terminal health risks," Beshear said. "This preventative ovarian cancer
screening is free, quick and confidential -- an easy way for women to protect
themselves from this life-threatening illness."
Markey's Ovarian Screening Program was initiated in 1987 by Dr. John R. van
Nagell, Jr., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the UK Markey Cancer
Center, and his colleagues. The goal was to study whether transvaginal
sonography (TVS) could be an effective means of early ovarian cancer detection.
During the examination, a small vaginal probe is used to take a sonographic
picture of the ovaries, and to measure ovarian volume. This procedure is able to
detect ovarian tumors even when they are too small to be diagnosed during a
Van Nagell said the survival rate of women in the program whose ovarian cancer
was detected by screening is significantly higher than that of women from the
same geographic area who received the same treatment but who did not have a
Initial funding for the program came from the Telford Foundation and the
Kentucky Extension Homemakers, who have supported it by participating in regular
screenings and donating $1 per member annually. Continued funding comes from the
Kentucky General Assembly.
The Ovarian Cancer Screening Program is open to women age 50 or older, or women
over the age of 25 who have a family history of ovarian cancer. Screening is
free. For more information, call (859) 323-4687 or (800) 766-8279.
Linda Blackford: (859) 231-1359. Twitter: @lbblackford
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