DNA testing may aid in early discovery of deadly cancers

DNA testing may aid in early discovery of deadly cancers

A medical breakthrough offers hope for early detection of ovarian and endometrial cancers. Researchers at Johns Hopkins have developed a new test, known as the “PapGene,” that uses cervical fluid from a Pap smear for DNA testing.

Many women may not know that the yearly Pap smear is used to detect cervical cancers but not the deadliest types of cancers for women: ovarian and endometrial.

“This news is a flicker of hope in the distance for our patients. Even though it is well in the future, this is wonderful,” says Dr. Sudarshan Sharma, gynecological oncologist on staff at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ovarian and endometrial cancers afflict nearly 70,000 women in the U.S. each year, and nearly one third of those cases are fatal. Most of the time, the cancers are not diagnosed until they are in the late stages.

“If we can diagnose women in the first stages of ovarian and endometrial cancer, we can get patients the treatment they need right away,” says Sharma.

There is still more research and testing to be done before the “PapGene” will be available for physicians to use, but results are promising. So far researchers say the new test has proven to be accurate in many cases.

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Sarah Scroggins
Sarah Scroggins

Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Aurora Health. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.