May 08, 2020
Ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of all gynecological cancers and is characterized by its late-stage diagnosis and “hidden” symptoms. By the time it is found, it has often spread, which is why it’s so important to tackle this devastating disease on all fronts.
Today, May 8, is World Ovarian Cancer Day, which brings together ovarian cancer organizations around the globe to show support for the roughly 300,000 women diagnosed each year. Of this number, around 140,000 will sadly die. And by 2040, the number of women diagnosed annually will rise to 434,184. By this estimate, the number of women dying each year will increase to 293,039. Sobering statistics to say the least.
The problem is that these figures don’t take into account the impact of COVID-19 on cancer treatments. Right now, doctors across the world are experiencing enormous challenges when it comes to diagnosing cancer as well as treating patients.
Many patients suffering with symptoms are likely staying at home. At the start of the pandemic, many governments called on physicians to halt nonessential procedures. What many people didn’t realize was that this included many cancer surgeries.
So, as it stands, many women with ovarian cancer could be missing out on biopsies, scans and visits to their doctors. And because ovarian cancer is so hard to diagnose in the first place, there will be more women who will ignore early signs such as bloating and loss of appetite because they will think that physicians are not available to see them.
In periods of emergency, great technological progress is often made because time is of the essence. We have seen how fast the world has got used to working from home - a development that would have been unthinkable just three months ago. The pandemic sweeping the globe has shown that people quickly adapt, and the clinical trial industry is no different.
Technology solutions such as Teckro have been adopted to streamline the clinical trials management process. This is good news because technology has a role to play in improving trial efficiency, protecting patient safety and preserving data integrity – ultimately getting treatments to market faster.
For patients suffering from cancers that are difficult to diagnose and/or prone to relapses, it only makes sense to remove every barrier with how clinical trials are run to focus on finding a cure.
Here are two key ways to help lower the ovarian cancer fatality rate through modernizing clinical trial management:
Ovarian cancer is a devastating disease with more than 80% of ovarian cancer patients experiencing a relapse and over half dying in less than five years post-diagnosis. The survival rate is well below that of other cancers affecting women, like breast cancer which has a 90% five-year survival rate if caught early. There’s no doubt that at the moment the long-term projections look bleak for ovarian cancer. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.
This year, World Ovarian Cancer Day falls during a time when COVID-19 has also highlighted the vulnerability of cancer patients when resources are scarce. This offers an opportunity to seize the chance to modernize clinical trials to make sure that effective treatments can be discovered and that ovarian cancer patients can access them and don’t slip through the cracks during the eligibility process.