Officials from the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center's ovarian cancer screening program are working to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and the importance of detecting it early during National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
The free ovarian cancer screening program offered year-round through Markey is open to women ages 50 and older, and to those older than 25 who have a family history of ovarian cancer.
The program was started in 1987 with a goal of studying whether transvaginal sonography could be an effective tool for early detection of ovarian cancer.
When the cancer is detected early, it can be cured, but most women have no symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage, according to a news release. Since the screening program was started, 37,000 Kentucky women have received more than 200,000 free screening exams.
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Dr. John van Nagell Jr., who started the program, said that transvaginal sonography is a "safe and effective way to screen for this deadly disease."
"While regular pelvic examinations are important and can detect many other abnormalities, including cervical cancer, they are not effective in detecting ovarian cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages," he said.
So far, 447 ovarian tumors and 76 malignancies have been found through the screening program.
Screenings are being done in Lexington, Elizabethtown, Somerset, Prestonsburg, Maysville and Paducah. For more information, call 1-800-766-8279.