Screening and prevention of ovarian cancer
Objective: To present a review of screening methods for ovarian cancer and preventive strategies.
Data source: Relevant literature was identified through a search of the MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL databases.
Study Selection: Recent Studies assessing methods used in prevention of and screening for ovarian cancer were selected.
Data Extraction: Data from selected studies were extracted as reported in the studies. They were then grouped into respective subtopics.
Data Synthesis: Data were grouped into two broad groups: screening and prevention. They were further refined into subtopics. The findings of this study are: currently, there are no screening tests recommended for women at average risk of ovarian cancer. Surveillance tests employed in high risk women include monitoring of cancer antigen (CA)-125 serum levels, transvaginal ultrasound, and pelvic examination. None, either individually or in combination, has consistently been shown to detect ovarian cancer at an early stage or to reduce mortality from ovarian cancer. Furthermore, the high false-positive rates associated with these tests, result in anxiety and unnecessary surgical interventions. Oral contraceptives, which have been shown to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer by up to 50%, have been proposed for use as a chemopreventive agent. The most effective ovarian cancer preventive strategy in women at high risk is risk-reducing salpingooophorectomy after the completion of child bearing, although this has the disadvantage of inducing early menopause.
Conclusion: Lack of effective screening methods for ovarian cancer has contributed to the low survival rate. An understanding of the pathogenesis of ovarian cancer may help in the development of effective preventive and screening methods.