Sunday February 17, 2019

All Women Can Be Screened For Cancer!

Screening all women over 30 years age for breast and ovarian cancer gene mutations can be cost effective, says a study

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The new approach, showed that it is cost-effective, and as a result can ensure that more women can take preventative action to reduce their risk or undertake regular screening. Pixabay
  • A study found out screening all women for cancer can be cost effective
  • The study was led by an Indian-origin researcher
  • The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Screening all women over 30 years age for breast and ovarian cancer gene mutations can be cost effective and could also prevent more of these cancers than just screening those at genetic high-risk, suggests a study led by an Indian-origin researcher.

The most well-known breast and ovarian cancer causing genes are BRCA1 and BRCA2, and women carrying either of the gene mutation have approximately a 17-44 per cent chance of developing ovarian cancer and a 69-72 per cent chance of developing breast cancer over their lifetime.

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Conversely, for women who do not carry these mutations, the risk is two per cent for ovarian cancer and 12 per cent for breast cancer over their life time. Pixabay
Conversely, for women who do not carry these mutations, the risk is two per cent for ovarian cancer and 12 per cent for breast cancer over their life time. Pixabay

The current clinical approach to genetic testing is based on having a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

The new approach, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, showed that it is cost-effective, and as a result can ensure that more women can take preventative action to reduce their risk or undertake regular screening and thus can provide huge new opportunities for cancer prevention and changes in the way how cancer genetic testing is delivered.

“Our findings support the concept of broadening genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer genes across the entire population, beyond just the current criteria-based approach,” said Ranjit Manchanda, Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist, at the Queen Mary University of London.

According to the World Health Organization, out of the 8.8 million deaths overall cancer deaths worldwide in 2015, breast cancer accounted for 571,000 deaths. Pixabay
According to the World Health Organization, out of the 8.8 million deaths overall cancer deaths worldwide in 2015, breast cancer accounted for 571,000 deaths. Pixabay

“Our analysis shows that population testing is the most cost-effective strategy and can have important implications given the effective options that are available for ovarian and breast cancer risk management and prevention for women at increased risk,” added Rosa Legood, Associate Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Furthermore, the researchers found that implementing a programme to test all British women over 30 years age could result in 17,000 fewer ovarian cancers and 64,000 fewer breast cancers.

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Ovarian cancer, with the lowest survival rate of all gynaecological cancers, is diagnosed annually in nearly a quarter of a million women globally and is responsible for 140,000 deaths each year. (IANS)

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Risk of Cervical Cancer Highest in Middle-aged Indian Women

" While PAP test is much more likely to miss precancerous cervical disease, HPV testing is more sensitive for detecting localised infection and marginally less sensitive for distant infection," Das noted

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

Nearly 50 per cent of middle-aged women in India were found to have positive cases of high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) — the main risk factor for cervical cancer, says a report from SRL Diagnostics.

Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a group of viruses that are extremely common worldwide. There are more than 100 types of HPV, of which at least 14 are cancer-causing (also known as high risk type).

The virus is mainly transmitted through sexual contact and most people are infected with HPV shortly after the onset of sexual activity.

Two HPV types (16 and 18) cause 70 per cent of cervical cancers and precancerous cervical lesions.

Analysis of HPV test reports of 4,500 women pan-India between 2014 and 2018, showed that women aged between 31 and 45 years had the highest percentage of high-risk HPV at 47 per cent.

This was followed by 30 per cent of women aged between 16 and 30 years being affected by the risk.

Cancer survivor, flickr

Cervical cancer accounts for one-third of all global deaths, with 74,000 deaths occurring annually and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in India.

However, “cervical cancer is also the only cancer which is preventable if care is taken in the initial stage”, said B.R Das from SRL Diagnostics in a statement issued here on Saturday.

“The high mortality rate from cervical cancer globally could be reduced through a comprehensive approach that includes screening, early diagnosis and treatment programmes,” he added.

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Besides vaccination before girls become sexually active, secondary prevention can be done by regular cervical smear of PAP smear which can pick up any abnormal cells in the cervix before they become cancerous.

“While PAP test is much more likely to miss precancerous cervical disease, HPV testing is more sensitive for detecting localised infection and marginally less sensitive for distant infection,” Das noted. (IANS)