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Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer usually produces no symptoms until it is in an advanced stage. Very few women have it detected early on a routine pelvic exam or because it produced a symptom. In fact, almost 75% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have the disease at a very advanced stage.
At your annual checkup and Pap smear or when you have symptoms, your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam, including a pelvic exam.
Tests may include:
If the pelvic exam reveals abnormalities, or you have worrisome complaints, further tests may include:
If cancer is found, the prognosis and treatment depend on the location, size, and stage of the cancer, as well as your general health. Staging is a careful attempt to determine whether the cancer has spread and, if it has, what body parts are affected.
Additional tests to determine staging may include:
The following stages are used to classify cancer of the ovary:
Beyond staging, a pathologist looks at the tumor through a microscope. The appearance of the cancer cells gives a good indication of how aggressive the cancer is. Grading the cancer adds to the staging information to help determine how best to treat you.
Kasper DL, Harrison TR. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 1998.
Ovarian cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/ . Accessed April 8, 2009.
9/18/2009 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamicmedical.com/what.php : FDA clears a test for ovarian cancer. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov... . Published September 11, 2009. Accessed September 18, 2009.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Igor Puzanov, MD
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