Thousands of women with ovarian cancer are set to benefit from what experts are calling the “biggest breakthrough in 30 years”.
The pill can keep tumours under control for years, it has been reported.
What is ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the ovaries.
Symptoms include feeling bloated all the time, a swollen tummy and tummy pain.
The main treatment is surgery to remove the cancer, followed by chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Around 7,500 women in the UK are diagnosed with it every year.
This could significantly increase the likelihood that we can delay a woman’s cancer from progressing – for months, perhaps even years longer than is currently possible.
It’s known as the silent killer because its symptoms are sometimes mistaken for other less serious conditions. Around 4,100 women each year die from it.
However, scientists have now unearthed a new daily pill. It is called Niraparib and can prevent tumours from regrowing.
Who will receive the new ovarian cancer pill?
Around 3,000 women in England are likely to be given the pill each year.
It will be given to those diagnosed with advance ovarian cancer.
A trial showed it can keep the disease at bay for six months longer than placebos.
Some women involved in the trial are still in remission three years later.
The drug was previously only given to women whose cancer had returned.
What have the experts said?
Prof Jonathan Ledermann from University College London said the news marks a “turning point in advanced ovarian cancer treatment”.
He added: “This could significantly increase the likelihood that we can delay a woman’s cancer from progressing – for months, perhaps even years longer than is currently possible.”
Annwen Jones from Target Ovarian Cancer said the news was a “major milestone in the fight against ovarian cancer”.
She added that it brings “hope during a pandemic where we have serious concerns about how many women are being diagnosed late”.
There’s hope for MS sufferers too
MS sufferers have also been given fresh hope this week. New reports suggest the science behind the COVID-19 jabs could also help them.
The MS Society shared the news on Twitter.
It said that after tests on mice, the treatment could “delay the onset and lessen the severity of an MS-like condition”.
The charity’s Emma Gray said: “We’d be excited to see more research to understand if and how this could benefit people with MS.”
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