Your doctor is likely to start with a pelvic examination:
- The outer part of your genitals is carefully inspected.
- The doctor then inserts two gloved fingers into the vagina and simultaneously presses a hand on your abdomen to feel your uterus and ovaries.
- A device (speculum) is inserted into the vagina so that the doctor can visually check for abnormalities.
Your doctor also may recommend:
- Imaging tests, such as ultrasound or CT scans, of your abdomen and pelvis. These tests can help determine the size, shape and structure of your ovaries.
- Blood test, which can detect a protein (CA 125) found on the surface of ovarian cancer cells.
- Surgery to remove a tissue sample and abdominal fluid to confirm a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Minimally invasive or robotic surgery may be an option. If cancer is discovered, the surgeon may immediately begin surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible.
Staging ovarian cancer
Doctors use the results of your surgery to help determine the extent — or stage — of your cancer. Your cancer's stage helps determine your prognosis and your treatment options.
Stages of ovarian cancer include:
June 12, 2014
- Stage I. Cancer is found in one or both ovaries.
- Stage II. Cancer has spread to other parts of the pelvis.
- Stage III. Cancer has spread to the abdomen.
- Stage IV. Cancer is found outside the abdomen.
- Chen L, et al. Overview of epithelial carcinoma of the ovary, fallopian tube, and peritoneum. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 18, 2014.
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- Moynihan TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 12, 2014.
- Gershenson DB, et al. Overview of sex cord-stromal tumors of the ovary. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 18, 2014.
- Chen L, et al. Epithelial carcinoma of the ovary, fallopian tube, and peritoneum: Epidemiology and risk factors. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 18, 2014.
- Havrilesky LJ, et al. Oral contraceptive pills as primary prevention for ovarian cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2013;122:139.
- Trabert B, et al. Aspirin, nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and acetaminophen use and risk of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer: A pooled analysis in the ovarian cancer association. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2014. In press. Accessed Feb. 18, 2014.
- Cook AJ. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 10, 2014.