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How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?

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In brief: Diagnosis of ovarian cancer

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and examine you.
He or she may also ask you about your medical history and whether anyone else in your family has had breast or ovarian cancer.

Your doctor will ask you to have a blood test to check the levels of certain proteins, such as CA125, that can be high if you have ovarian cancer. He or she may also examine you internally to check your womb and ovaries.

Your doctor may refer you to a specialist for further tests, such as an ultrasound scan or a CT scan to view the inside of your abdomen and pelvis.

If the results of your tests show you have cancer, you may need to have more tests to assess if the cancer has spread. The process of finding out the stage of a cancer is called staging.

Further tests may include a gynaecological laparoscopy – this is a procedure used to examine your fallopian tubes, ovaries and womb. You may also have a small sample of tissue taken (a biopsy), which will be sent to a laboratory for testing.

If you have a build-up of fluid in your stomach, it can be drawn out through a needle and examined to see whether cancer cells are present. This is known as abdominal fluid aspiration or paracentesis.

In brief: Diagnosis of ovarian cancer

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and examine you.
He or she may also ask you about your medical history and whether anyone else in your family has had breast or ovarian cancer.

Your doctor will ask you to have a blood test to check the levels of certain proteins, such as CA125, that can be high if you have ovarian cancer. He or she may also examine you internally to check your womb and ovaries.

Your doctor may refer you to a specialist for further tests, such as an ultrasound scan or a CT scan to view the inside of your abdomen and pelvis.

If the results of your tests show you have cancer, you may need to have more tests to assess if the cancer has spread. The process of finding out the stage of a cancer is called staging.

Further tests may include a gynaecological laparoscopy – this is a procedure used to examine your fallopian tubes, ovaries and womb. You may also have a small sample of tissue taken (a biopsy), which will be sent to a laboratory for testing.

If you have a build-up of fluid in your stomach, it can be drawn out through a needle and examined to see whether cancer cells are present. This is known as abdominal fluid aspiration or paracentesis.
Quality HealthCare Team
Quality HealthCare Team
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Dr. Adam Levy
Board Certified, Obstetrics & Gynecology
34 years in practice
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