If you have reason to think that you might have ovarian cancer—maybe you’ve recently started experiencing pelvic pain or abdominal bloating, or perhaps your primary care provider noticed an abnormality during your last appointment—you should get tested as soon as possible. But what exactly does testing involve? There are a number of diagnostic tests used for detecting ovarian cancer, including:
- Pelvic examinations. During a pelvic exam, the physician checks for visible and palpable abnormalities in the vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, ovaries and rectum.
- Imaging tests. A physician may use computed tomography (CT) scans, positron emission tomography (PET) scans and ultrasounds to check for abnormalities within a woman’s pelvis and abdomen.
- Blood tests. Because women with ovarian cancer may have elevated levels of certain tumor markers in their blood- such as alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), CA-125 protein, estrogen, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), inhibin, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and testosterone - a physician may perform a blood test to check for these substances.
If any of these tests suggest the presence of ovarian cancer, the physician will likely proceed with a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. The physician will collect samples of tissue and fluid and then send them to a pathologist, who will study them under a microscope to determine whether there are any cancerous cells present.
Ovarian cancer treatment at Moffitt Cancer Center
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we’re pleased to offer ovarian cancer treatment through our gynecological clinic. We understand how stressful it can be to receive a cancer diagnosis, and our compassionate team will do whatever they can to make the treatment process as easy as possible for you. We aim to ease the burden on our patients’ shoulders so that they can focus on getting better.