by Teri Woodhull
I am so excited for a new FORCE program called XRAY-Behind the Ovarian Cancer Headlines!
My ovarian cancer was already advanced by the time it was diagnosed and I believe that research has played a big role in my nine-year survival. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a research junkie. I attend scientific conferences whenever I can, and I regularly go looking for articles and information on new treatments and trials. I’ve been in three clinical trials: two trials studying new drugs and one trial to study quality-of-life issues related to my treatments.
But reading a scientific journal article is a daunting and often impossible task for most patients. How then do they get the results of research? We often hear about studies through the popular press—TV and radio news stories, and articles in magazines, newspapers, online, etc. But how do we know if the reported information is accurate? Is it just hype or does it accurately reflect the results of the study?
I want accurate and understandable research information to
be available to all women with ovarian cancer, their families and
That’s why XRAY-Ovarian Cancer, a program that helps the average person interpret new ovarian cancer research, is so valuable. XRAY stands for “eXamining the Relevance of Articles for You.” The program was initially funded by the CDC to cover breast cancer topics in the news particularly relevant to young women with breast cancer. Recently, the program was expanded to focus on information for those facing metastatic breast cancer. Now XRAY-Ovarian Cancer will look behind media headlines to bring reliable information and reviews of ovarian cancer research; provide plain language, in-depth summaries and links to clinical trials; summarize current guidelines and rate how well the media covered each topic. The first study covered by XRAY-Ovarian Cancer is the PRIMA trial.
This trial looked at using the PARP inhibitor niraparib (Zejula) as maintenance therapy for women who were newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I was on niraparib for maintenance through a clinical trial when my ovarian cancer first returned in 2015. The medication stabilized the disease for three wonderful years and, based on the results of this trial, it was approved in 2017 as a maintenance option for women with recurrent ovarian cancer.
But I also want more women to be able to avoid recurrence or at least delay the time to recurrence, which means we need better frontline (initial) treatment options for ovarian cancer. And while PARP inhibitors have been particularly effective for women with inherited BRCA gene mutations, what about other women who do not have a BRCA mutation? The PRIMA trial was designed to try to answer both of these issues, so I was anxious to see the outcomes. The XRAY-Ovarian Cancer article made it really easy for me to understand the results of the trial.
If you want to access reliable, accurate information on ovarian cancer research, make sure to bookmark XRAY-Behind the Ovarian Cancer Headlines on the FORCE website as one of your go-to resources!
Teri Woodhull was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in 2010. As someone who has personally benefited from participating in clinical trials Teri is particularly passionate about improving patient access to clinical trials.
Teri is on the board of directors of the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MOCA), is the Board President for FORCE, represents women with ovarian cancer on two advisory panels and is a regular blog contributor for Globe-athon (an international effort to raise awareness of gynecologic cancers).
She lives in Minnetonka with her husband Duncan who is an active member of the Men of MOCA and their golden retriever, Bailey.