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Women's Health Topics..

You are here : home > Women's Health > Ovarian Cancer > Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer

Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer

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.

The cancerous growth in the ovaries of females is termed as ovarian cancer. This cancer is a result of abnormal growth of cells that spread gradually to the other parts of the body. It is very difficult to detect this disorder during its primary stages. The early symptoms of this disorder are very similar to common illnesses and as such most of the females may not take it seriously. As the early symptoms are confused with other disorders, this disorder is mainly detected in its advanced stage where nothing much can be done. But if it is diagnosed in early stages, the chances of survival of the victim are higher.

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 appetite occur.

What tests can help in determining ovarian cancer?

A blood test known as the CA-125 can help in detecting ovarian cancer.  A tumour-marker measures the level of protein shed by ovarian tumours.  A reading beyond the range of 0-35 is suggestive of cancer.  But the CA-125 can detect only less than 80% of ovarian tumours.  It is not a conclusive screening of cancer like the mammography since the CA-125 could fail to detect many of the tumours.  A higher than normal reading could even indicate a number of other gynaecological disorders like cysts, fibroids, endometriosis, or even menstruation.

Who are at the risks of ovarian cancer?

This disease is more common in older women and it affects younger women in very rare cases. Family history of ovarian cancer can increase the risk of this disorder in women. Obese women are also susceptible to this disorder. There are about 50% chances of obese women getting affected with this disorder. Women who are undergoing HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) are also at risk but the risk reduces when the therapy is over. It is also very common in the women with unexplained or incurable infertility.

How is the risk of ovarian cancer reduced?

Women who have successfully carried more than one pregnancy have lower risk of developing ovarian cancer. At the same time long term breastfeeding can also prove beneficial to reduce the risk ovarian as well as breast cancer.  Some researchers have also pointed that the use of birth control pills for at least three or more than three years reduced the risk of ovarian cancer in women. It helps to reduce the risk by 30 to 50%. Undergoing surgical procedures like hysterectomy or a tubal ligation may also help to prevent the risk of ovarian cancer.

Early detection is very important in order to increase the chances of survival. Although, there is nothing much that can be done to prevent this disorder, a healthy lifestyle can be followed to reduce the risk. Having healthy diet and exercising regularly can prove helpful to a greater extent. It is also very important to quit all bad habits like drinking, smoking, taking illicit drugs etc. Undergoing checkups regularly is also one of the important factors that can help in early detection and taking right preventive measures immediately.

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What is Ovarian Cancer
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sherlin.9 years ago
Some of the early symptoms you can examine on your own are such as: Bloating or increased abdominal size, Pelvic or abdominal pain, Eating difficulty or feeling full too quickly. If you see all these you can consult your gynecologist.
Sakshi.9 years ago
i think its very important for every women to regularly go for check ups and avoid such diseases in its early stages itself.
jay.9 years ago
i did everything-reg ckups,good diet,no history,butihave stage4 in remission.have a ca-125 blood test.this is the only true way to detect ovarian cancer.
Das.9 years ago
does one loose weight? i have gained a lot put have a clear pap and clear ultrasound but have severe distension , am worried!!!!!!!!
SABABD.9 years ago
to detect cancer it is neccessary to do pap-smear check up every year without forgetting.
in early years doctors never suggested all these test coz of which i lost my mother.
i would like everyone to know that never miss ur pap smear test a year.
chits.9 years ago
prognosis of ovarian cancer
Kuldip Mishra.9 years ago
how many pap smears are being done?
Kuldip Mishra.9 years ago
why gynaecologists still uses cotton swabs as cell sampling tool? which often gives false negative reports.
i suffer from poly cystic ovarian disease (pcod)and not if my cysts are benign or malignant. i am not on any medications and my periods though regular have been ongoing for more than 2 weeks now. i consulted with my doctor who told me that i was probably undergoing stress and she did a couple of tests but nothing unusual was noticed and she told me it was probably vaginal bleeding due to stress. after two months now the bleeding has returned only to be occuring for more than 3 weeks and they are unable to find the cause. i am very concerned about my health. is there any solution. i have taken so many tests that i have no count of them including the pregnancy test and all have been negative for any evidence of disorders.

if any of the doctors on the panel can answer my query i will be deeply greatful.


Chitra.9 years ago
is the biopsy that is mentioned for determining if the cysts are malignant very painful. how is it performed?
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