As May draws to a close, we’d like to look back on World Ovarian Cancer Day, which was held on May 8.
Here at Kazia, we are encouraging all women to be aware of their family medical history - both on their mother’s and father’s side - when assessing their risk for ovarian cancer.
This is important given many of the symptoms of ovarian cancer - such as abdominal bloating or unexplained fatigue - are symptoms common to other easily explained conditions, meaning patients can be diagnosed with the condition when it is already at an advanced stage.
It is also important as ovarian cancer remains one of the deadliest women’s cancers worldwide.
In Australia, approximately 1,600 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year1, while in the US, about 21,750 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer in 2020 and 13,940 women will die from the disease2.
As well as knowing your family history and the major signs and symptoms, there are also five key facts on the disease that we are urging awareness of:
- A Pap test (cervical smear test) does not detect ovarian cancer
- Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage
- Diagnosing Ovarian cancer before it spreads makes it much more treatable
- Symptom awareness might lead to quicker diagnosis
- The five most common symptoms include:
- Persistent bloating
- Difficulty eating
- Feeling full quickly
- Pelvic/abdominal pain
- Urinary symptoms3
Kazia is developing a treatment called Cantrixil for ovarian cancer, which is currently in phase I human trials in hospitals across Australia and the United States.
Cantrixil may provide a new treatment option for women with later-stage ovarian cancer, who received limited benefit from existing chemotherapy. Depending on clinical trial results, Cantrixil could prolong survival rates for women with ovarian cancer by targeting chemotherapy-resistant tumour-initiating cells that are thought to be responsible for disease relapse.
1 Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation: https://ocrf.com.au/about-ovarian-cancer/statistics/
2 American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/ovarian-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
3 World Ovarian Cancer Coalition: http://worldovariancancercoalition.org/about-ovarian-cancer/five-facts/