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Funding: BUPA Foundation (2007-2012)

Brain K (CI), Austoker J, Bankhead C, Clements A, Gray J, Iredale R, Jacobs I, Mackay J, Menon U, Phelps C, Rosenthal A & Watson E.

This is a multi-centre, multi-method collaborative study, led by Cardiff University, to investigate the psychosocial impact of a familial ovarian cancer screening programme for women at increased genetic risk of ovarian cancer.

Women in the UK who have a family history of familial ovarian cancer are offered regular ovarian cancer screening (OCS), involving ultrasound and blood tests. Familial OCS is not proven to be effective, and has been available only as part of the UK Familial OCS Study (UKFOCSS), which is examining the effectiveness of OCS in detecting ovarian cancer at an early stage, and reducing deaths from ovarian cancer in women with a family history of the disease. However, little is known about the benefits or harms of offering screening to women at increased genetic risk of ovarian cancer. Running alongside UKFOCSS, this study will explore women’s reasons for taking part in the ovarian screening programme, and the effects of regular screening on anxiety and worry. Two thousand women who are having regular OCS will be asked to complete a series of questionnaires; in-depth interviews will be carried out with women who receive different screening results, to explore their perceptions, understanding and experiences of ovarian cancer screening. The results of this study, together with those of the UKFOCSS, will help to improve the care of women who are at increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Contact: Alison Clements for further details