Former U.S. Congressman Dr. Phil Gingrey and Senior Advisor to the District Policy Group at Drinker Biddle authored a column in The Hill discussing the difficulties surrounding the screening and diagnosis of ovarian cancer. The column outlines what policymakers and others can do to increase awareness and investment in research to allow for earlier and accurate diagnosis.
Dr. Gingrey explains that ovarian cancer is the number one cause of gynecologic cancer deaths and the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death in women. Approximately 14,240 women die from the disease each year, a ratio of one out of every 104 women, according to Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA), a District Policy Group client.
One reason ovarian cancer is so deadly is because symptoms can easily be mistaken for other health issues. While Pap smears screen for cervical cancer, there is no valid and reliable test to screen for ovarian cancer.
Although Dr. Gingrey stresses the importance of awareness, he emphasizes that we still have a long way to go when it comes to research and funding. Groups such as the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance urge greater federal funding for agencies such as the CDC, NIH and the Department of Defense to work on ovarian cancer research, prevention, early detection and treatment initiatives.
Dr. Gingrey concludes by stating, “As an ob/gyn general practitioner, I’ve referred far too many patients to gynecologic oncologists. It weighs on me that if we had bigger investments in research, perhaps more of those patients would be cancer survivors. Together, with greater awareness and more research, I hope we can put an end to this disease in the near future.”