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Ovarian cancer is known as "the silent killer" because its symptoms -- such as stomach pain and indigestion -- are easily confused with other ailments, allowing the illness to reach a deadly advanced stage before it is diagnosed. But that may soon change. Researchers are working on an early-detection test that proved 100 percent accurate in finding the cancer in its earliest stage, according to a small study to be published in the medical journal Endocrine-Related Cancer Journal. More testing, as well as FDA approval, needs to happen before the pinprick blood test called OvaCheck becomes widely available, says Peter Levine, president of Correlogic Systems, one of the test's developers. However, for women at high risk of ovarian cancer, such as those with a family history, the test may be available as early as this year.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal magazine, May 2004.