New Discoveries in Treating Women's Cancer Reported at ASCO Meeting

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 20, 1996

Philadelphia, PA, May 20, 1996 -- Exciting new discoveries in the treatment of ovarian and breast cancer were reported today at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Ovarian Cancer is the second most common gynecological cancer, and half of all cases occur in women over the age of 65. An estimated 14,500 women will die of ovarian cancer in the U.S. in 1996 -- more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. The primary reason is that the disease is usually asymptomatic in its early stages; three-fourths of all cases remain undetected until the tumor has spread beyond the ovaries. Many patients will ultimately relapse despite the best treatments.

The overall five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is 37%. However, clinical research with new chomtherapy regimens and drug delivery methods may offer hope in iproving outcomes for many patients.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the United States -- one out of nine women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. For women between the ages of 35 and 54, it is the leading cause of death. In 1996, 184,300 new cases of female breast cancer will be diagnosed, and 44, 300 women will die from the disease.

If detected early, breast cancer often can be treated effectively with surgery that preserves the breast, followed by radiation therapy. This local therapy is sometimes accompanied by systemic chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy. Five-year survival after treatment for early-stage breast cancer is over 90%. More than 1.6 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the U.S. today.