BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Just like a mammogram or PAP smear, Roswell Park, Mayo Clinic and MD Anderson researchers are working on a way to detect ovarian cancer.
70% of ovarian cancers aren't diagnosed before it's too late, per Roswell.
This new test would look for STIC lesions, a tell-tale sign of ovarian cancer that is rarely found early on.
“There’s a window of opportunity where, if we can identify STICs, we can potentially prevent ovarian cancer,” says Dr. Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, FRCOG, FACOG, Deputy Director of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
In 2004, life-long Buffalo resident Kathleen Theal was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was in remission for more than 10 years, but in 2015, it came back.
"I've been fighting this cancer very hard. It's a cancer that doesn't want to go away," said Theal.
It affects more than 20,000 women each year and more than 12,000 of those women die.
"It's a very serious public health problem," said Dr. Odunsi
This research initiative is called the DoD and SPORE Ovarian Cancer Omics Consortium, or DSOCOC, comprised of three teams around the country doing research on ovarian cancer.
It's funded by a $544,360 grant from the Department of Defense and is an effort that will take a few years.
“Our hope is that through team science, state-of-the-art technology and grassroots advocacy we will be able to dampen the impact of this very deadly and devastating cancer,” said Dr. Odunsi.
The survival rate for ovarian cancer when detected early is 90%. When the cancer is advanced, that number goes down to 30%.
"This will allow us the potential opportunity to develop vaccines that could prevent ovarian cancer altogether," said Dr. Odunsi.
Odunsi hopes to be help detect other cancers as well.
"Thank God something is coming along that will help women like me," said Theal.
For more information on this research, click here.