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A faster way to screen for endometriosis soon

Photo: Urgent need for rapid endometriosis test
A new diagnosis for endometriosis could soon be found thanks to research at the University of Sydney.

Endometriosis is slowly getting the recognition from health professionals in Australia it deserves but unfortunately the painful and debilitating gynealogical condition still takes years to diagnose.

A formal diagnosis takes on average 10 years to get and requires invasive and potentially dangerous keyhole surgery.

That will hopefully change, sooner rather than later, with research underway at the University of Sydney on a faster way to screen for endometriosis.

"Endometriosis is a progressive disease and long delays before diagnosis and treatment allows the condition to advance - so there is an urgent need for a sensitive and specific test for the diagnosis," said Dr Robert Markham, scientist and senior lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology.
"We're currently working on a non-invasive test for endometriosis to make diagnosis faster and easier," Dr Markham said.

Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other parts of the body, commonly in the reproductive organs but often in the bowel and bladder. It often causes severe pelvic pain and infertility.

The rapid test would involve simply peeing in a cup to test the urine for specific proteins uniquely linked to endometriosis, lead researcher Dr Fred Wong said.

Using proteomic technology, Dr Wong and his team have identified eleven proteins uniquely linked to endometriosis.

"These 11 proteins are potential biomarkers, so we could use these proteins to potentially develop a screening test of endometriosis," he told AAP.

Dr Wong says the successful development of this screening test could "revolutionise" the diagnosis, treatment and management of endometriosis.

"We could go to high school girls and give them some sort of a test to detect whether this disease is developing," Dr Wong said.

An estimated 176 million women around the world suffer from endometriosis.

"Ten per cent of women of child bearing age have the disease," said Dr Wong.

Just this week the UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence called for GPs to stop overlooking symptoms of the condition such as severe period pain.

Dr Markham says edometriosis must be taken more seriously by doctors in Australia.

While that has started to happen, he says, its been a "very slow change".

To address this the second EndoActive Endometriosis Conference for doctors and patients will take place at the Unviersity of Sydney at the Charles Perkins Centre on Saturday, September 9.


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