Spotting Ovarian Cancer Without Surgery

FRESNO, Calif.

More than a million women are living with ovarian masses. Twenty-two thousand of them will be told "it's cancer". More than 14,000 women will die this year.

Traditional tests missed Cindy Hastings' cancer. A routine surgery turned into a hysterectomy when doctors finally spotted it. Then, she had a second surgery to make sure the cancer didn't spread.

"That was pretty devastating because, you know when someone is telling you it's not cancer and then you find out it is," Hastings told Ivanhoe.

Pathologist Eric Fung hopes the blood test his team created will help people like Hastings avoid multiple surgeries and get the right treatment sooner.

"It's known as the silent killer because it's difficult to diagnose," Dr. Fung explained.

The test -- called OVA1 -- reads five specific proteins in a woman's blood. It can determine if an ovarian mass is malignant or benign or if the patient needs to see a specialist for surgery.

"If I would have known and had the OVA1 prior, I wouldn't have had to have the second surgery," Hastings explained. "I would have just right on to the oncology doctor."

In a study, conventional tests like cat scans found 72 percent of ovarian cancers. The new blood test spotted 92 percent. Hastings is still fighting her battle and staying strong by preparing for a half marathon.

"I'll get through. I may be coming in at 8 p.m. at night, but I'll get through it," Hastings said.

A will that she hopes pushes her to win the race against ovarian cancer as well.

Doctors say there are more than 300,000 ovarian mass surgeries in the United States each year. With this new test, they hope to eliminate some of those surgeries and help women achieve better outcomes. Ovarian cancer is the fifth-leading cause of cancer death in women.

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