The Importance of Ovarian Cancer Research

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Unfortunately, we're probably a very long way off from a cure, but what we will look towards is prevention, and knowing your risk, and being able to take action, and then do something about that. But research takes time, and one study from microscope to basically bed side can take 15 years, and so that's a really long time.

But there are times of us to stop, and we can't stop. Every year, ovarian cancer affects 22,000 women. The issue with ovarian cancer is that it's not as treatable as some of the other cancers, and it's very deadly. Actually, the deadliest of the gynecologic cancers. Over 15,000 women would die from the disease, there are 22000 undiagnosed.

The current entry research right now is looking at better treatments, I think it's focusing on that, and certainly looking for methods of early detection. They are trying to focus on that, but they are also looking for better treatments because they want to help women now. And to do that the treatment really need to improve.

A lot of times when the woman takes gas ovarian cancer, she has a chemotherapy treatment. There was a high rate of recurrence, and so the next time she takes a treatment at the often, it doesn't work as well. So, a lot of the focus has been on trying to develop another treatment, another line of treatment.

We're looking at immune therapy, obviously using a woman's own immune system, and what they can do to stimulate that to fight the cancer, so, that's another big area. Genetics has become very, very important, because despite having identified the BRC81 and BRC82 genes, that's just a small percentage of women that do develop ovarian.

So, there is still a large unknown, almost 90% of people who develop ovarian, they are not certain why. This is not to spread fears, that it almost becomes every woman's disease, because if there is almost 90% of the cases are unknown genetically, it's hard to determine. So, that's why just being attentive to your body, and also knowing whether you have a history in your family, we've spoken to so many people that don't know, they'll often say oh my grandmother died of cancer but I'm not really sure what type of cancer that is, and that is really important for women to really understand their family history.

I really think the recent finding that took place up in one of the Harvard hospitals actually with that we do believe that forms of ovarian cancer may be developing in Fallopian tubes. And it that's the case, that will explain why it's so hard to detect, because it's actually starting somewhere else, and then migrating to the ovaries.

So, that by the point it reaches the ovaries, and then symptoms might actually be sensed, that's because it's actually starting somewhere else and if that's the case, and there were a way that we could target the Fallopian tube that would be really significant. So, that's a reason finding that I think is going to have long term implications.

For the immediate short term treatment will be I think the main focus but the long term goal will be prevention, and by prevention I would include genetics, so obviously knowing if there is a genetic compound beyond the BRCA1 and BRCA2. They are probably likely is in many cases but we just don't know it yet.

And if then could be genetically screened, then know the risk and then take preventative measures. That would be something that we would be aiming for in the near term. We very much hope that they would be a cure. We very, very much hope that, and it's hard to say especially now when it's so uncertain.

If there is one kind of ovarian cancer, there's several kinds, and where it originates, and all of these questions are so unknown. I believe some day yes, there will be, but I think they have to know all these other answers, and it's a long way off. So, that's why we can't stop, research is so incremental, and so important to build up on itself.