Treatment for Ovarian Cancer has changed little since 1992. The current first line treatment is a generic form of chemotherapy, which is usually effective in treating the cancer cells left after debulking, in the first instance.
However, it is not effective on all variants of the disease and more than 80% of women experience a recurrence of their ovarian cancer after a period of remission. At this point for many their cancer is chemo resistant (no longer responding to the drug). The current first line drugs attack the fastest growing cells in the body in a nonspecific way, often causing undesirable and debilitating side effects.
While there have been major advances in targeted treatment of cancers such as breast, bowel, and melanoma aimed at the specific cancer cells, advances in Ovarian Cancer treatment have been slow. Current Ovarian Cancer treatment is lagging, and women are dying.
Four women a day are diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer everyday in Australia – with 70% of those receiving their diagnosis at an advanced stage. As a result, only 29% of women diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer live beyond five years from diagnosis.
For comparison, here’s some stat’s around Ovarian Cancer and some other cancers that affect women:
- Ovarian Cancer 5 year survival 46%
- Cervical Cancer 5 year survival 74%
- Uterine Cancer 5 year survival 83%
- Breast Cancer 5 year survival 91%
If Ovarian Cancer could be diagnosed at Stage 1 the survival rate would soar to 92%.
The introduction of a screening test that could detect Ovarian Cancer in the early stage at Stage 1 would be a game changer for women with the disease. Unfortunately, there is currently no screening test, which is why the Letitia Linke Research Foundation is focused on raising funds to support research into finding such a test.
What a very scary and sad fact it is that only 29% of women diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer today will be alive beyond five years.
A key focus of the LLRF is to raise funds for research to find an early detection test. With more funding there can be more research to find the early detection test needed to turn these statistics around, and to improve current treatment for women diagnosed with this most insidious of diseases.