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Ovarian Cancer

  • Posted: 07/17/2006

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The Promise of Cancer Research

Doctors all over the country are conducting many types of clinical trials (research studies in which people volunteer to take part). They are studying new and better ways to prevent, detect, and treat ovarian cancer.

Clinical trials are designed to answer important questions and to find out whether new approaches are safe and effective. Research already has led to advances, and researchers continue to search for more effective methods.

Women who join clinical trials may be among the first to benefit if a new approach is effective. And even if the women in a trial do not benefit directly, they may still make an important contribution by helping doctors learn more about ovarian cancer and how to control it. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, researchers do all they can to protect their patients.

Researchers are conducting studies with women across the country:

  • Prevention studies: For women who have a family history of ovarian cancer, the risk of developing the disease may be reduced by removing the ovaries before cancer is detected. This surgery is called prophylactic oophorectomy. Women who are at high risk of ovarian cancer are taking part in trials to study the benefits and harms of this surgery. Other doctors are studying whether certain drugs can help prevent ovarian cancer in women at high risk.
  • Screening studies: Researchers are studying ways to find ovarian cancer in women who do not have symptoms.
  • Treatment studies: Doctors are testing novel drugs and new combinations. They are studying biological therapies, such as monoclonal antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies can bind to cancer cells. They interfere with cancer cell growth and the spread of cancer.

If you are interested in being part of a clinical trial, talk with your doctor. You may want to read the NCI booklet Taking Part in Cancer Treatment Research Studies. It explains how clinical trials are carried out and explains their possible benefits and risks.

NCI's Web site includes a section on clinical trials at http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials. It has general information about clinical trials as well as detailed information about specific ongoing studies of ovarian cancer. NCI's Information Specialists at 1-800-4-CANCER and at LiveHelp can answer questions and provide information about clinical trials.

This text may be reproduced or reused freely. Please credit the National Cancer Institute as the source. Any graphics may be owned by the artist or publisher who created them, and permission may be needed for their reuse.