Insurancewith supports cancer charity Fighting All Cancers Together (FACT) through the sale of our cancer travel insurance policies. In order to keep our travel insurance with cancer policies as competitively priced as possible we monitor very closely what is happening with regards to new thoughts on cancer treatments and cancer research. Therefore we were very interested in Professor Gareth Evans of Manchester University’s latest study.
According to Professor Evans,current screening methods for ovarian cancer simply do not work as tumors are not being spotted in the early, treatable stage. Figures show only 40 per cent of the 7,000 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Britain every year are likely to be alive in five years.
Ovarian cancer is very difficult to spot early as symptoms can be confused with other illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome, and unfortunately screening for ovarian cancer, involving a blood or ultrasound test, is not available on the NHS as it is not reliable enough. Furthermore, only women with a family risk of the ovarian or breast cancer or who have had the disease in the past are offered either test.
Professor Evans has suggested that women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer should have their ovaries taken out when they are 40, he feels that it is the only way to protect against ovarian tumors which cannot be picked up at early stages by screening.
Tens of thousands of women carry faulty genes, which can mean they have a 70 to 90 per cent chance of getting either ovarian or breast cancer. Around 60,000 women – up to one in 400 – carry one of the faulty genes BRCA1 or BRCA2.
But if they have their ovaries removed, they can half the risk of getting ovarian and breast cancer which is oestrogen and/or progesterone positive. The threat is cut as the organs produce the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone which trigger the growth of tumours in the breast and ovaries. Although breast cancer survival rates are very good, fewer than half of patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer survive.