Ovarian cancer screening techniques are currently being studied, but as of yet, no method has proven reliable in identifying this cancer during its earliest and most treatable stages. The best way for a woman to protect herself is to know the signs of ovarian cancer, pay close attention to her body and be aware of what is normal for her. Most importantly, a woman should see a doctor right away if she has unusual vaginal bleeding, such as between menstrual periods or after menopause. While there are no reliable ways to perform routine ovarian cancer screening, there are some tests that can be helpful, such as:
- Rectovaginal pelvic examination – A physician examines and manipulates a woman’s ovaries to detect lumps or changes in shape or size. Ovarian cancer is usually more advanced when discovered through pelvic examination.
- Transvaginal ultrasound (TVU) – This procedure uses medical ultrasonography, or sound waves, to produce images of a woman’s reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, and cervix, and bladder
- CA-125 blood test – This test checks for elevated levels of the serum marker CA-125, a protein sometimes produced by certain cancers, including ovarian cancer.
- Other methods currently under study – Screening tests are being studied and implemented in clinical studies throughout the country.
Women who are experiencing symptoms or would like to learn more about ovarian cancer screening can turn with confidence to Moffitt Cancer Center, where all aspects of patient care are available in a single location. Our culture and organizational structure underscore our fundamental values of collaboration and multispecialty teamwork. To discuss ovarian cancer screening with the gynecological clinic at Moffitt, please call 1-888-663-3488 or schedule an appointment online. Even if you don’t have a referral, our physicians will be pleased to consult with you.