How to test for ovarian cancer
An ultrasound of the pelvis is usually the first test that is ordered to see if there is any problem with the ovaries or other pelvic organs. It can detect ovarian masses and help the doctor know if they are fluid-filled ovarian cysts or ovarian tumors. If the doctor suspects ovarian cancer, they may order additional tests.
Computed tomography (CT) scans
A procedure known as needle biopsy makes use of the CT scan. Also known as CT-guided needle biopsy, the procedure involves inserting a needle into the ovaries to remove small pieces of the ovarian tumor. It uses a CT scan to guide the needle into the tumor and take the required sample.
Like CT scans, MRI also provides detailed images of the organs, such as ovaries. However, instead of X-rays, it uses strong magnets to make the images.
MRI scan is most often used to know if ovarian cancer has spread to the brain or spinal cord.
A chest X-ray helps to check if ovarian cancer has spread to the lungs. The lung may not only show a mass (tumor) but there may also be a collection of fluid around the lungs. This collection of fluid is known as pleural effusion.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
A PET scan can also be useful if the doctor suspects that cancer has spread and wants to know where it has exactly spread. The test is not detailed as a CT or MRI scan but provides details of all the areas where cancer has spread. It can be done simultaneously with a CT scan.
If the doctor suspects that ovarian cancer has spread to the colon (large bowel), they may perform a colonoscopy. This involves inserting a thin, long flexible tube-like camera (colonoscope) through the anus. This camera helps in visualizing the colon to find any abnormal growth (tumor).
This is a surgical procedure in which a thin, long flexible tube-like camera is inserted into the lower abdomen through a small incision. Through this camera, doctors can know the extent of cancer. The camera captures the images in the form of a video and displays the moving images of the ovaries and other organs on a screen.
This provides a definitive diagnosis of ovarian cancer. It involves removing a small piece of tissue from the ovary and examining it in the lab.
The doctor will order blood tests that include
There is a special test known as the cancer antigens-125 (CA-125) test that measures the levels of CA-125 level in the blood. A higher CA-125 level is usually suggestive of ovarian cancer. Other tests may be ordered to know the levels of tumor markers that include
- Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
- Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)
- Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)
Hormonal levels may also be assessed. These include testing estrogen and testosterone.
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Green AE. Ovarian Cancer. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/255771-overview
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Can a Blood Test Detect Ovarian Cancer?A doctor may advise a blood test to patients having ovarian cancer. A cancer antigen-125 (CA-125) blood test is usually recommended to measure the levels of a protein called CA-125, which could be elevated in women who have ovarian cancer. This test is also used during the treatment of ovarian cancer because the level of this protein goes down as the tumor shrinks. This protein is elevated in more than 80 percent of women with advanced ovarian cancers and 50 percent of those with early-stage cancers.
Can You Be Fully Cured of Ovarian Cancer?Around two in ten women with advanced-stage ovarian cancer are effectively cured and survive at least 12 years after the treatment as per the research. Your response to cancer therapy and chances for a cure depend on the type and the staging of ovarian cancer at the time of diagnosis.
Does Ovarian Cancer Show Up on Blood Work?A person with ovarian cancer may have high levels of a substance called the CA-125 (cancer or carcinoma antigen-125) in the blood. CA-125 antigen is known by several other names, such as ovarian cancer antigen and CA-125 tumor marker. It is a protein present on the surface of most (but not all) ovarian cells. Thus, significantly high levels of CA-125 may be seen in the blood of ovarian cancer patients.
How Long Do You Have to Live With Stage IV Ovarian Cancer?Stage IV cancer means the disease has already spread to distant organs. In most patients diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer, the 5-year survival rate is approximately 17%.
How Would I Know if I Have Ovarian Cancer?Ovarian cancer is cancer of the ovaries that produce eggs. Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer may include abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, abdominal pain, reduced appetite, bloating, pelvic pain, constipation and an increased urge to urinate.
What Are the Stages of Ovarian Cancer?Ovarian cancer is a disease where abnormal cells in the ovary begin to grow and divide uncontrollably, forming a mass of undifferentiated tumor cells. These cells tend to invade nearby and distant sites in the body, deteriorating their function. The ovaries are pair of internal reproductive glands found only in females.
Is There a Blood Test for Ovarian Cancer?The CA-125 blood test is one of clinical assessments used to diagnose ovarian cancer. However, CA-125 or other tumor markers alone are insufficient to diagnose ovarian cancer.
Ovarian CancerThere are many types of ovarian cancer, epithelial carcinoma is the most common. Women with a family history of ovarian cancer have an increased risk of developing the disease. Some ovarian cancer symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and abnormal vaginal bleeding, however, they usually do not present until the disease has progressed. Early diagnosis is important for successful treatment.
Ovarian Cancer SlidesOvarian cancer symptoms and signs include abdominal pain, bloating, frequent urination, and a feeling of fullness. Ovarian cancer treatment depends on the stage and may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted therapy.
Ovarian Cancer QuizHow common is ovarian cancer and who is at risk? Take our Ovarian Cancer Quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatment for this disease.
Rubraca (rucaparib) for Ovarian CancerRubraca is a prescription medicine used for the maintenance treatment or treatment of adults with ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, or primary peritoneal cancer. The most common side effects of Rubraca include nausea, tiredness or weakness, vomiting, decrease in hemoglobin (anemia), changes in how food tastes, constipation, decreased appetite, diarrhea, low blood cell counts, mouth sores, and others.
What Are the Main Causes of Ovarian Cancer?Each cell in the body survives, grows, and dies under regulated conditions. The term cancer means an uncontrolled growth of cells.
What Are the Symptoms of Stage 1 Ovarian Cancer?At stage 1 of ovarian cancer, the cancer is present only in the ovaries i.e. it has not spread in any other organs. Signs and symptoms at this stage may include a mass felt in the abdomen, distension or swelling of abdomen, abnormal vaginal bleeding (between menstrual periods or after menopause) and other signs. Stage 1 ovarian cancer has no symptoms in many women, however; often they may not experience symptoms until the cancer has spread significantly.
What Was Your First Sign of Ovarian Cancer?Like all types of cancer, ovarian cancer is often asymptomatic. The first signs of ovarian cancer may vary from patient to patient. Typically, ovarian cancer symptoms might appear as common stomach and digestive problems that are often mistaken for minor ailments.
Who Is at High Risk for Ovarian Cancer?The risk of ovarian cancer increases with age. Almost half of the ovarian cancer cases are seen in women older than 63 years of age. Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of gynecological cancer-related deaths among women between the ages of 35 and 74 years.