Screening Tests For Ovarian Cancer Are They Valid
Screening Tests For Ovarian Cancer Are They Valid?
Screening tests done on women who are at risk for ovarian cancer may allow doctors to catch ovarian cancer early enough to make a difference in prognosis.
Screening tests are done when the woman has no symptoms of the disease, but the doctor may suspect something and wants to catch the possible cancer early, when the woman has a much better chance for effective treatment and survival. There is no reliable screening test for ovarian cancer such as is available for other cancers. Doctors do not recommend routine screening be done on women who have been identified as high risk for ovarian cancer. Experts do not agree on what screening should be done or when it should be done. Individual doctor's need to make an assessment as to the risk and the benefit of conducting a screening test. There have been incidences of women having screening tests that resulted in false positive results for cancer and those women had unnecessary surgery to remove cancer that turned out not to be there.
There are tests that can be done on women whom a doctor suspects may have ovarian cancer.
Pelvic Examination is a test that the doctor can easily conduct by examining the vagina, uterus, rectum and pelvis. During the exam the ovaries can be felt for the presence of masses or growths.
Ultrasound is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the pelvic area. The test is safe, noninvasive and can evaluate the size, shape and configuration of the ovaries. Ultrasound can also detect fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites). There are many conditions where there is fluid in the abdomen so the presence of fluid does not necessarily mean that it is ovarian cancer.
A blood test, CA 125 can be drawn that will give a level of CA 125 in the bloodstream, this CA 125 is a protein that show up in different conditions including ovarian cancer. This blood test is also used after surgery and during chemotherapy treatment for ovarian cancer to check the level.
Computerized tomography (CT) and also magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be done because they provide detailed cross-sectional images of the inside of the body.
A chest x-ray may also be ordered to determine if the cancer has spread to the lungs causing fluid to accumulate there.
A surgical procedure called a laparotomy is done to confirm the diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
If the tests show that the woman has ovarian cancer, the surgeon and pathologist will identify the stage of cancer and the type of cancer tumor so that a treatment can be determined to give the woman the best chance for survival.
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