Ultrasound imaging is a better tool for determining whether ovarian tumours are benign or malignant than the traditional pre-surgical blood test, a new study has determined.
The level of the protein CA-125 in blood is considered an indicator of the tumour's status, but this method frequently yields inaccurate results.
Scientists from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium compared the two approaches in a study involving 1,066 women. They found that ultrasound correctly classified 93 per cent of the tumours, while CA-125 levels accurately identified 83 per cent at best.
"We hope our results will encourage responsible parties to expend more effort and more resources to educate and train those who perform gynecologic ultrasound examinations, so that the potential of the ultrasound technique can be maximised," the authors write.
The study appears on the online edition of The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Malignant tumours account for just six per cent of ovarian cysts, according to Patient Plus.
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