This World Ovarian Cancer Day, Australian oncology-focused biotech company Kazia Therapeutics Ltd (ASX: KZA, NASDAQ: KZIA) calls for greater awareness of one of the deadliest women’s cancers worldwide.
In Australia, approximately 1,600 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year1, most of them at an advanced stage. The disease also has the lowest survival rate of all female cancers, with only 47.5% of patients surviving five years post diagnosis2.
Meanwhile, in the US, around 22,530 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer in 2019 while more than 13,000 women will die from the disease.3
Kazia is urging all women to understand all of the major signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and seek regular check-ups with their doctors if feeling unwell.
The four major symptoms of ovarian cancer are feeling full after eating a small amount, increased abdominal size or persistent bloating, abdominal or pelvic pain and the need to urinate urgently or often. Given these are symptoms common to other easily explained conditions means that patients present for diagnosis late.
The most commonly reported symptoms are4:
- Unexplained fatigue
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation
- Increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating
- Abdominal or pelvic (lower tummy) pain
- Feeling full after eating a small amount
- Needing to urinate often or urgently
Other signs to watch out for include5:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Back pain or cramps
- Indigestion or nausea
- Excessive fatigue
- Pain during sex
Sally Goers Fox was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2005. She was misdiagnosed twice by gynaecologists before her family doctor diagnosed her and she went on to be treated successfully. She says, looking back, she had ovarian cancer symptoms for around 18 months. Watch an interview with her here:
Kazia is developing a treatment called Cantrixil for ovarian cancer, which is currently in phase I human trials in hospitals across Australia and the United States.
The Company recently reported early efficacy results from Part A of the phase I study. Of nine patients evaluable for efficacy, five (56%) achieved stable disease after two cycles of Cantrixil monotherapy. One of these five patients subsequently achieved a partial response when Cantrixil was administered with chemotherapy, as intended per protocol.
Cantrixil may provide a new treatment option for women with later-stage ovarian cancer, who received limited benefit from existing chemotherapy. Depending on clinical trial results, Cantrixil could prolong survival rates for women with ovarian cancer by targeting chemotherapy-resistant tumour-initiating cells that are thought to be responsible for disease relapse.
1 Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation: https://ocrf.com.au/about-ovarian-cancer/statistics/
2 Cancer Australia: https://ovarian-cancer.canceraustralia.gov.au/statistics
3 Source: American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/ovarian-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
4 Source: Ovarian Cancer Australia: https://ovariancancer.net.au/know-ovarian-cancer/signs-and-symptoms/
5 Source: Marie Claire magazine: https://www.marieclaire.com.au/ovarian-cancer-diagnosis