Breast Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, and the PALB2 Gene

In Blog, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Gynecology, Ovarian Cancer by Dr. Gary Goldman

A publication in today’s New England Journal of Medicine describes another important gene responsible for some hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. Dr. Antoniou and colleagues at Cambridge University found that mutations in the PALB2 gene were associated with a 9.5 times higher rate of breast cancer, and a 2.3 times higher rate of ovarian cancer in women. They also found an 8 times higher risk of male breast cancer. A family history of breast cancer was also important in calculating risk. If there was no family history, the lifetime risk of breast cancer was 33%. With a family history, the …

How Should We Screen for Ovarian Cancer?

In Blog, Cancer, Gynecology, Ovarian Cancer by Dr. Gary Goldman

I am frequently asked about screening tests for ovarian cancer. This is a dreaded disease which strikes without warning, and can frequently be deadly. Wouldn’t it be great if we could detect it early and prevent its terrible consequences? You may receive the same emails that I do, presumably from Gene Wilder, encouraging women to have a CA-125 blood test; Gene’s wife, Gilda Radner, died from ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, it’s not a very good test. And what’s worse, it’s about the best test we have. We have studied a variety of blood tests, sonograms, and even screening by symptoms, as …

A Screening Test for Ovarian Cancer – Finally on the Horizon!

In Blog, Cancer, Gynecology, Ovarian Cancer by Dr. Gary Goldman

In a stunning breakthrough, Dr. Martin Widschwendter recently described a blood test that can find early ovarian cancer, potentially helping to save numerous lives. As published in the December 22, 2017 issue of Genomic Medicine (https://genomemedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13073-017-0500-7), Widschwendter has demonstrated that screening for abnormal fragments of altered DNA in circulating blood can find ovarian cancer up to two years before it is otherwise clinically detectable. In this report, Dr. Widschwendter and colleagues at University College London first found multiple altered (methylated) DNA fragments common to many tumor samples from high grade serous ovarian cancers – the most common form of ovarian cancer. …