by Clare Rawlinson, ABC
Low survival rates for ovarian cancer are being targeted in a sweeping reform of research into the disease in Australia.
Ovarian Cancer Australia has announced a landmark national action plan, following in the footsteps of breast cancer researchers. They hope the plan will see the same gains in survival rates and treatment options that similar strategies have made for other cancers.
The plan aims to diversify clinical trials and tailor treatment to specific subgroups of the disease that have only recently been discovered.
“What we know about ovarian cancer now is there are many more subgroups than we previously thought – that’s come from understanding the gene wiring of the cancers,” researcher Professor Clare Scott said.
An initial investment of $1 million between Ovarian Cancer Australia and the Peter McCallum Cancer Centre has been put towards establishing new clinical trials that target the unique molecular characteristics of each cancer subgroup.
"We do think from other examples in oncology, that having targeted treatment means the chance of really controlling the disease for years, if not longer, will be finally in our grasp," Professor Scott said.
Ovarian cancer the biggest killer among women's cancers
About 1,400 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year and only 43 per cent will live beyond five years after diagnosis. Of the 14,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year, 89 per cent will survive beyond the next five years.