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A new test developed by the Garvan Institute Of Medical Research offers hope to thousands of women with a 'silent' disease

1300 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year and of those 90% will die of the disease.

In a world first breakthrough Dr Goli Samimi from the Ovarian Cancer Research Group at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research has identified specific biological changes that occur in the DNA of women with ovarian cancer, which makes a blood-based screening test a highly promising prospect for women at high risk (especially those with a family history of ovarian cancer). This is expected to vastly improve the survival rates of women

Ovarian cancer is mostly diagnosed at a late stage, when it has spread beyond the ovaries and into the abdominal cavity, by which point complete removal of the tumour is very challenging. Only 20% of women survive five years after diagnosis.

“It is clear that developing a test to facilitate early detection is out best chance of reducing the toll of this terrible disease,” says Dr Samimi.

February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and today is Teal Ribbon Day.

Ovarian cancer survivor and advocate Mrs Margaret Rose, who chairs the Garvan Institute Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, says that ovarian cancer is often “forgotten” amongst other women’s diseases and cancers.

“We really need to focus our energies and research on ovarian cancer because there are no clear defining symptoms, there is not screening test, hundreds of women are affected every year and the survival rates are so horrendous.”

Facts about ovarian cancer:

X 1300 Australian women get diagnosed each year
X 90% of those will die from the disease
X Only 20% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will survive five years
X A pap smear does not pick up ovarian cancer

Click for more facts about ovarian cancer

For more information on ovarian cancer research visit:

Awareness and research: Ovarian Cancer Australia

Research into a cure: Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation

Research into early detection: Garvan Institute