Trending Clinical Topic: Ovarian Cancer

Ryan Syrek


January 17, 2020

Each week, we identify one top search term, speculate about what caused its popularity, and provide an infographic on a related condition. If you have thoughts about what's trending and why, feel free to share them with us on Twitter or Facebook.

News about a long-suspected cause and updated guidelines helped make ovarian cancer this week's top trending clinical topic. Results from the largest reported investigation to date suggest that the use of powder in the genital area does not increase the risk for ovarian cancer. Multibillion-dollar lawsuits have argued that baby powder use caused ovarian cancer and asbestos-related mesothelioma. However, this pooled analysis of data in four large US cohorts found no statistically significant association between the use of powder in the genital area and increased risk for ovarian cancer. Although the report is encouraging, experts suggest that no definitive conclusions can yet be drawn, and further investigation is required.

Mortality from all cancer in the United States had the largest 1-year drop ever from 2016 to 2017. A new report from the American Cancer Society found that rates have been falling since 1991, when cancer-related deaths peaked, and have seen a 29% overall decline in mortality through 2017. The conclusion was that this has been driven mostly by advances in combatting lung cancer.

In news more specific to ovarian cancer, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recently published updates to its guidelines on genetic/familial high-risk assessment for ovarian cancer and breast cancer. According to experts, the new guidance represents a somewhat radical shift from previous recommendations. Although the recommendations reflect a conservative approach regarding genes with less substantial evidence, they also acknowledge a shift toward panel testing and include a table of 17 moderate- and high-penetrance genes that should be considered in addition to BRCA genes. The guidelines also provide management recommendations for patients in whom those genes are identified.

From the possible exclusion of a rumored cause to key information on diagnosis and mortality, significant recent news about ovarian cancer helped make it this week's top trending clinical topic.

Read more about ovarian cancer.


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