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A Drug That Could Help Delay Ovarian Cancer In Newly Diagnosed Patients Is Now Available On The NHS

A Drug That Could Help Delay Ovarian Cancer In Newly Diagnosed Patients Is Now Available On The NHS

A drug that could delay progression of ovarian cancer for three years has been approved for use on the NHS for newly-diagnosed patients in England.

Olaparib - also known as Lynparza - is being made available through the charity Cancer Drugs Fund to help women with a genetic form of ovarian cancer, which is notoriously extremely difficult to treat.

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It's previously been used for patients with advanced stages of the cancer, who also hold the BRCA genes (these increase the risk of developing both breast and ovarian cancer).

But now thanks to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), it has been approved for use on patients in the early stages of the disease, too.

Credit: Pexels
Credit: Pexels

NICE predicts that the new approvals could benefit up to 700 women every year in England, with experts saying that it could even cure cancer if taken by women who have just received their diagnosis.

The drug works by preventing the PART protein in cancer cells from repairing themselves which then cause the cancer cells to die.

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"Olaparib is already used for ovarian cancer but is expected to have the greatest benefit when used early," explained Meindert Boysen, director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation.

"It is considered to have the potential to cure the disease in some people if given before the first recurrence."


"For the first time, women with a BRCA mutation will be able to access this game-changing new generation of ovarian cancer drugs from their first round of treatment," added Annwen Jones, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer.

"For many women, this represents a long overdue improvement and we look forward to a future where all women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, regardless of BRCA status, have multiple treatment options."

The drug is currently only available for women in England, with announcements hopefully expected for Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland this year.


Clinical data shows that Olaparib reduces the risk of cancer getting worse or the patient dying by 70 per cent compared to a placebo drug, while 60 per cent of patients receiving the drug also had no progression of cancer after three years versus 27 per cent on the placebo.

As ovarian cancer has rather vague symptoms, 60 per cent of cases are only detected at a late stage and it has a high chance of recurrence even after treatment.

It mainly affects women over 50, however it can effect younger women and survival rates are the highest for those under 40.

If you're worried about ovarian cancer, visit Target Ovarian Cancer. This new announcement is definitely a step in the right direction.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels

Topics: News, Life News, Real, Cancer, Health

Naomi Chadderton

Naomi is a freelance journalist working for Pretty 52. After graduating from The University of Nottingham, Naomi moved out to Dubai where she worked for Grazia Middle East and Harper's Bazaar Arabia. She is now back home and enjoying the London life.

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