Ovarian cancer does have symptoms, but they are often very subtle and easily mistaken for other, more common problems.but in the majority of cases, these don’t show up until the cancer has advanced.Several studies show that ovarian cancer can produce symptoms such as:
ii. Pelvic or abdominal pain
iii. Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
iv. Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency).
If a woman has the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, her doctor will probably perform a complete pelvic exam, a transvaginal or pelvic ultrasound, radiological tests, such as a transvaginal ultrasound or CT scan, and a CA-125 blood test. They are most effective when used in combination with each other.
- Transvaginal Ultrasound: A transvaginal ultrasound is a test used to examine a woman’s reproductive organs and bladder, and can often reveal if there are masses or irregularities on the surface of the ovaries and within cysts that form within the ovaries.
- Pelvic Exam: A pelvic exam may be included as part of a regular gynecologic health exam. This exam requires the doctor to place one or two fingers into the vagina and another over her abdomen to feel the size, shape, and position of the ovaries and uterus. Ovarian cancer is rarely detected in a pelvic exam and usually in an advanced stage if it is.
3. Recto-vaginal Pelvic Examination (also called a bimanual exam): This exam allows your doctor to examine the ovaries for lumps or changes in shape or size. Every woman should undergo a rectal and vaginal pelvic examination at her annual check-up with her gynecologist. A Pap test is routine in a pelvic exam but it detects cervical cancer, not ovarian cancer.
4. Diagnosis: The only definitive way to determine if a patient has ovarian cancer is through surgery and biopsy. Doctors will perform surgery after they obtain enough evidence from their exam and test results.
A doctor may also perform laparoscopic surgery to perform the biopsy and remove a small, benign cyst or early ovarian cancer and to determine the extent of spread. A laparoscope is a thin tube with a camera that allows the doctor to see and remove tissue.
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