If ovarian cancer is detected early than it can be cured. The early signs of ovarian cancer can be detected on pelvic examination. Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can easily be confused with indigestion, irritable bowel or premenstrual syndrome. A blood test, CA 125, can detect the cancer.
What are the early
signs of ovarian cancer
In all cases, the first sign of ovarian cancer is an enlargement of the ovary. This enlargement of the ovary can be detected on pelvic examination. (Fortunately, only 5% of these are found to be malignant or cancerous). Other signs of ovarian cancer include fluid collection in the abdomen, bloating, cramping, pelvic pain, heartburn and fatigue. However, these symptoms can easily be confused with indigestion, irritable bowel or premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
It is only at a very advanced stage that distension and a total lack of
What tests can help
in determining ovarian cancer
A blood test known as the CA 125
can help in detecting ovarian cancer. A tumor-marker measures the
level of protein shed by ovarian tumors. A reading beyond the range
of 0-35 is suggestive of cancer. But the CA-125 can detect only less
than 80% of ovarian tumors. It is not a conclusive screening of cancer
like the mammography since the CA-125 could fail to detect many of the
tumors. A higher than normal reading could even indicate a number
of other gynaecological disorders like cysts, fibroids, endometriosis,
or even menstruation.