A new test can help doctors to identify ovarian cancer more accurately and reduce the amount of unnecessary surgery, according to researchers from the University of Leuven in Belgium and Imperial College London.

The new test, known as ADNEX, uses a combinations of blood test results, ultrasound scans and patient information to identify the difference between benign and malignant tumours, as well as recognising how aggressive a malignant tumour is, with a high degree of accuracy. The researchers involved in the study say that ADNEX could be used by doctors immediately.

Ovarian cancer can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are common to other illnesses, and, according to Cancer Research UK, around 7,100 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK each year, making it the fifth most common cancer in women.

Ovarian cancer is the most aggressive gynaecological cancer, with only 40% of patients still alive five years after diagnosis.

Michael Burrell, a medical negligence solicitor based in Thompsons Solicitors’ Birmingham office, commented: “Early diagnosis is essential to increase a woman’s chance of surviving ovarian cancer. There is currently no screen test for ovarian cancer so any test that makes the diagnosis of ovarian cancer more straight-forward, faster and more accurate is hugely welcome.

“Through our work with clinical negligence victims, we know that the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of cancer can have the most tragic consequences for the patient and their family. Hopefully this test will be made widely available as soon as possible.”