How is ovarian cancer diagnosed? ~ Health Guide

Health Guide

Health Record provides reliable answers to important health questions. Use this site to learn more about detecting, preventing, and treating a variety of medical conditions.

How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?

Written by Mystic on Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Unlike breast and cervical cancer there is no general screening test for ovarian cancer. A general practitioner may be the first person to examine you and organise further tests that may be necessary.

Physical examination

A thorough physical examination includes an internal pelvic examination, when the doctor checks for any masses or lumps in the abdominal area.

Blood tests

A blood test is available that detects a certain protein or a tumour marker, called CA125. This protein is higher than normal in women with ovarian cancer.

There are other proteins or tumour markers called Inhibin or CEA. The presence of these markers depends on the type of tumour. Some tumours however do not have any tumour markers. Testing your blood for the presence of these tumour markers helps to diagnose cancer. The same tests may be performed at a later stage to check the progress of the disease.


Routine abdominal and chest xrays may be organised. An xray of the bowel would exclude gastrointestinal problems. A gynaecological check would follow if the gastrointestinal tests were negative.

Ultrasound scans

Ultrasound scans may also be used to assist in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. An ultrasound scan uses sound waves to make up a picture of the inside of the abdomen, the liver and the pelvic region. An abdominal ultrasound scan may be used to measure the size and position of a tumour.

A transvaginal ultrasound may also be performed. This involves the insertion of an ultrasound probe into the vagina. Recent American studies indicate that a transvaginal ultrasound scan may be of value in the screening of women with a high risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Unfortunately none of these tests can definitely diagnose ovarian cancer. Diagnosis may be strongly suspected following the results of a combination of the above tests. The only way that diagnosis can be confirmed is with an operation and a biopsy of the tumour. Because of this, ovarian cancer is often diagnosed and treated at the same time.

If these tests indicate that you may have ovarian cancer, you should see a gynaecological oncologist, a surgeon who specialises in treating women with cancers of the reproductive system.

Related Posts by Categories

Widget by Hoctro | Jack Book