Ovarian cancer 'is a difficult disease to treat'

5 October 2012

The poor UK survival rates of advanced ovarian cancer could be as a result of differences in treatment compared to other countries.

Research carried out as part of the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP) scheme revealed that Britain has similar proportions of women diagnosed at each stage of the life-threatening disease than in other participating countries.

However, the same study found that women are less likely to survive if they have later-stage ovarian cancer if they live in the UK than in such nations as Australia, Canada, Denmark and Norway.

The research, results of which were published in the journal Gynecologic Oncology, suggests that differences in access to treatment and the quality of care could be the reasons behind this finding.

Dr John Butler, study author and Cancer Research UK clinical advisor for the ICBP project from the Royal Marsden Hospital, pointed out: "Ovarian cancer can be very difficult to treat, because it's not just one disease but several different diseases, depending on the type of the tumour.

"The most common form, high grade serous ovarian cancer, is thought to develop in the fallopian tube, rather than the ovary, and it often spreads rapidly before a woman notices any symptoms."

Posted by Philip Briggs

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