An integrated approach to the diagnosis and management of ovarian cancer is fundamental to the delivery of high quality care, NICE states in a new quality standard for the disease.
Eight quality statements are included in the standard, including women over 50 reporting one or more symptoms of the disease being offered a CA125 blood test to check protein levels.
Dr Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Health and Social Care at NICE, said the statements aim to “drive improvements in the diagnosis, care and treatment of this disease”.
There are around 4,400 deaths from ovarian cancer in the UK each year. Around 6,500 new cases are diagnosed annually, with women over the age of 50 at a higher risk.
The diagnosis of the disease is often delayed as its symptoms are similar to those in more common conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.
The new quality standard states that along with offering women reporting symptoms a CA125 test, they should be given an ultrasound within two weeks of results showing raised CA125 levels.
Those found to have a mass, growth or lump next to their uterus should then be offered an MRI scan to help determine if the lesion is benign or malignant.
“We know that the poor survival rates of ovarian cancer may be linked to late diagnosis, which is often because of a lack of awareness of the early symptoms, which include abdominal bloating or pain and difficulty eating,” said Dr Leng.
“Quality standards help to achieve the goals set out in the NHS Outcomes Framework, as well as informing new Quality and Outcomes Framework indicators.”