CA-125 or other tumor marker test
Manual Rectal-Pelvic Exam
Ask your medical provider to rule out ovarian cancer with these tests
The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends three tests to detect ovarian cancer in women who are symptomatic. They can also be helpful as an active surveillance tool for women at high risk.
It is important to note that these three tests, when administered independently of each other, are less effective in detecting ovarian cancer than when they are used in combination. Ongoing research is aimed at finding a test that will effectively screen for ovarian cancer — in its early stages, before it has spread. NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative dreams of the day when a screening test is developed and becomes a routine part of every woman’s annual exam, just like a Pap test and mammogram.
CA-125 blood test measuring the level of a cancer antigen protein found in many, but not all, ovarian cancer cells. Caution must be taken when interpreting the results of this test because it has a high incidence of both false positives and false negatives and there are many other conditions that can produce elevated levels of the CA-125 protein.
Trans-vaginal ultrasound provides the best view of the ovaries and other organs or masses that may indicate a need for further testing.
Physical Exam, including a recto-vaginal exam that allows the doctor to feel for a mass or other abnormal condition that might indicate ovarian cancer. This should be a part of every woman’s annual checkup with her gynecologist or primary care provider.
Ovarian cancer can only be positively diagnosed through a biopsy
Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose. There are no screening tests for ovarian cancer. Many women mistakenly believe a Pap Test screens for ovarian cancer. In rare instances, it can detect the disease but the Pap Test is used to screen for cervical cancer.
Currently, there is no widely-used early detection test for ovarian cancer. There are tools and procedures that medical professionals can use to determine the likelihood of ovarian cancer. However, without pathology studies from cells removed during a biopsy or surgery, an ovarian cancer diagnosis cannot be positively confirmed.