KEL Pittman hopes new funding for a locally developed early detection test for ovarian cancer will mean her daughter never has to walk the same path as her mum.

Mrs Pittman, 47, was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer in 2014 after a year of baffling symptoms.

While her cancer markers fell to normal levels following a radical hysterectomy, chemotherapy and drug therapy, the cancer resurfaced in the lining of her stomach last year.

Today, instead of aiming for a personal cure, she is managing the cancer.

“I hadn’t been feeling great for a year. I had back pain, I was tired, but I’d gone back to full-time work and just thought it was that,’’ Mrs Pittman said.

“I was wrongly diagnosed with IBS, but then one weekend my tummy bloated until I looked like I was five months pregnant and went to emergency.

“When the doctor finally delivered the news, he looked at me like I was going to die.”

Ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer, because women with early stage ovarian cancer commonly do not present with any symptoms meaning the disease is often not detected until the advanced stages.

Unlike other cancers that can be diagnosed by effective screening at an early stage, such as cervical cancer, an early detection test for ovarian cancer does not exist.

Professor Martin Oehler, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute has identified three potential targets that indicate with high accuracy the presence of early ovarian cancer.

His team is developing a robust screening test with autoantibody biomarkers with the aim to use it for ovarian cancer population screening.

“If our hypothesis is correct, there is an immune response to the cancer and we should be able to tap into this response, measure it and use it for an early detection test,” Professor Oehler said.

Mrs Pittman said a test was desperately needed.

“I have a 13-year-old daughter and I want her and her friends to be able to grow up and have a test for ovarian cancer as part of their regular health check-up,’’ she said.

“It’s not going to save my life, but it might just save hers or one of her friends’.”