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Friday, Sep 22nd

Last update:06:42:40 AM GMT

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Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis

Diagnostic tests that can be used to detect ovarian cancer
No consistently reliable, accurate screening test to detect ovarian cancer exists (the Pap test does not detect it). The following tests are available and should be used:
  • Mandatory annual vaginal exam for women age 18 and above.
  • Annual recto–vaginal exam for women age 35 and above. Physician inserts fingers in the rectum and vagina simultaneously to feel for abnormal swelling and to detect tenderness.
  • Trans–vaginal Sonography for women, especially those at high risk. An ultrasound performed with a small instrument placed in the vagina.
  • If any of these tests are positive, consultation with a gynecological oncologist should be considered.
  • X–ray studies and/or samples of fluid from the abdomen or tissue from the ovaries may be performed.
Blood test to determine if the level of a tumor marker called CA–125 has increased in the blood for women at high risk. Its role in post–menopausal women is superior to that in pre–menopausal women. This test is not definitive because some non–cancerous diseases of the ovaries also increase the CA–125 levels, and some ovarian cancers may not produce enough CA–125 to cause a positive test.

If any of these tests are positive, consultation with a Gynecological Oncologist should be considered. X–ray studies and/or samples of fluid from the abdomen or tissue from the ovaries may be performed.

Is ovarian cancer hereditary?
Woman can inherit an increased risk for ovarian cancer, particularly if a “First degree” relative (mother, sister, or daughter) has, or has had, ovarian, breast or colon cancer. Further, women with a strong family history of ovarian cancer are more likely to develop the disease at an early age (younger than 50).

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