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Simple Online Tool Helps Doctors Diagnose Early Ovarian Cancer

Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox : Jan 6, 2012 : The University of Nottingham

In testing, the tool was successful in predicting 63 per cent of all ovarian cancers over the following two years which were in the top 10 per cent of women found to be most at risk.

(United Kingdom)—The lives of hundreds of women could be saved every year, thanks to a simple online calculator that could help GPs identify women most at risk of having ovarian cancer at a much earlier stage.

Ovarian calculatorAcademics from The University of Nottingham and ClinRisk Ltd have developed a new QCancer algorithm using the UK QResearch database. The new algorithm assesses a combination of patients' symptoms and risk factors to red flag those most likely to have ovarian cancer and enable them to be referred for further investigation or treatment at a much earlier stage.

A study into the effectiveness of the algorithm, published online this week at BMJ.com (British Medical Journal), has shown that it was successful in predicting almost two-thirds of ovarian cancers in the 10 per cent of women who were most at risk of having the disease over a two year period.

Leading the research, Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox, said: "Ovarian cancer is notoriously difficult to spot and we hope that this new tool will help GPs identify patients most at risk of having ovarian cancer for early referral and investigations."

In testing, the tool was successful in predicting 63 per cent of all ovarian cancers over the following two years which were in the top 10 per cent of women found to be most at risk.

In addition to detecting cancer at an earlier stage, the tool could help GPs to direct their scarce resources such as ultrasonography, MRI scans and blood tests, to the patients more urgently in need of further investigation.

The simple web-based calculator is designed for doctors but a simpler version could also be made available on the internet to raise awareness among the general public and to prompt women with risk factors or symptoms to seek advice from their doctor.







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