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How a tampon could help detect ovarian cancer

With no current early detection available, a new medical study suggests tampons could help detect ovarian cancer early enough to save the lives of thousands of ...
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With no current early detection available, a new medical study suggests tampons could help detect ovarian cancer early enough to save the lives of thousands of women.

That’s according to University of Virginia Cancer gynecologic oncologist Dr. Chip Lander Jr., who released the findings of research that showed DNA from an ovarian tumor was detectable on tampons used by more than half of women studied who had ovarian cancer.

While certain cancers – including cervical cancer – can be detected early through regular pap smears, there is no early screening available for ovarian cancer, Lander told our sister station WTVR.

Thirty-three women participated in the study, which required them to insert a tampon the night before surgery for potential ovarian cancer. Five of the women ended up having ovarian cancer, and three of those five had DNA from the tumor in the tampon.

“While more research is needed to improve the sensitivity of the test, the fact that in some cases tumor DNA was found in the vaginal canal is promising,” Landen said.

Landen was working to open a larger study to test the possible connection in a larger group of women.