Pulling together. Unless we jump in with some kind of early screening for ovarian cancer, we will not begin to figure out how it festers before it spreads or whether early detection makes a difference. But the jump must be done responsibly. NCI Director Andrew von Eschenbach suggested one approach to me, but it would take extraordinary cooperation and leadership: Pull together NCI, FDA, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and perhaps private insurers. Give preliminary approval to promising tests once they are independently validated, but pay for them only if doctor and patient participate in a national registry. Conscientious physicians will do what they think is right. In record time, accumulated experience will tell which tests are worthwhile.
Surely the goal is to find perfect biomarkers. But while we search, we shouldn't let perfection be the enemy of the good. Ovarian cancer is incubating in numerous women at this very moment, and it won't wait.