Between 2009 and 2015, the Rivkin Center, in collaboration with Swedish Medical Center and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, offered enrollment in the Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Screening Program (OCEDP). The purpose of this screening study program was to test whether CA-125 blood tests and annual ovarian ultrasounds help detect ovarian cancer early in women at increased risk. Participation in this study was free, funded by the Rivkin Center with philanthropic support from the community. The screening study program also provided information and resources to assist researchers in finding additional blood markers that might complement the CA-125 blood test in diagnosing ovarian cancer at an early stage.
Extending the work of a previous study
The Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Screening Program was an extension of a screening study started in 2002 by Dr. Nicole Urban of Fred Hutch. Not only did that study monitor women for ovarian cancer, but over 200,000 clinical specimens were collected and are available to researchers nationwide who are working on early detection blood markers. The Rivkin screening study program served over 500 women in the Puget Sound and beyond. Results on biannual CA-125 tests and yearly ultrasounds provided researchers with data on early detection rates for high-risk women. Clinical specimens collected from participants were banked for research purposes at Fred Hutch, building on the research resource started in 2002.
Why early detection matters
By establishing a research resource of high quality clinical specimens, the screening study program provided a powerful tool for scientists looking to improve early detection. Today, ovarian cancer remains the leading cause of gynecological cancer deaths in the United States. More than 70% of women are diagnosed in late stages, when the cancer has spread outside the ovary. Survival rates are highest when ovarian cancer is detected early and still confined to the ovary. If ovarian cancer could be detected earlier, fewer lives would be lost to the disease. Donations to the Rivkin Center contribute to developing vital resources for early detection, including this specimen collection.
The screening program continues
Although the Rivkin Center’s Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Screening Program terminated at the end of 2015, the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) is operating an ovarian cancer screening clinic in the True Family Women’s Cancer Center to take on surveillance of women who are at high risk for ovarian cancer. The clinic phone number is (206) 215-6400.
Former participants in the Rivkin-funded program are eligible to be visit the SCI clinic. In addition to ovarian cancer screening, women can receive screening for breast cancer in the same location as appropriate, ovarian and breast cancers are often linked in families that have a strong medical history of these two diseases.