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Screening and Detection of Ovarian Cancer


  • Ginger Breedlove CNM, PhD, ARNP, FACNM,

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    • Ginger Breedlove, CNM, PhD, FACNM, is the Nurse-Midwifery Program Director at the University of Kansas and copartner in Midwife Consultants, LLC, Kansas City, Missouri.

  • Cara Busenhart CNM, MSN

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    • Cara Busenhart, CNM, is a 2004 graduate of the University of Kansas Nurse-Midwifery Education program. She received her master's degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri.

University of Kansas School of Nursing, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, KS 66160. E-mail:


According to the National Cancer Institute, ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer in women and the leading cause of death from gynecologic malignancies. Most often the disease is advanced before symptoms are evident. It is estimated that only 15% to 30% of women in advanced stages will survive 5 years, whereas, of women in stage I at the time of diagnosis, 95% are likely to be alive in 5 years, and most are cured following surgery. Current screening techniques recommended for women with known strong risk factors include combination transvaginal sonography with cancer antigen (CA-125). Transvaginal sonography and serum CA-125 have limited diagnostic predictability. A new early detection method that uses proteomic technology will soon be available. The OvaCheck test, as researchers purport, is a highly specific and sensitive early detection method for ovarian cancer in women with strong risk factors. The Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve nationwide marketing of OvaCheck for early detection, because trials are not yet complete. Anticipated commercial availability is scheduled for early 2005.