Did you that ovarian cancer is ranked fifth as the cause of cancer deaths among women? As a woman, your risk of developing this particular disease during your lifetime is about one in seventy-five. It is crucial to note that this cancer often attacks older women. Nearly a half of those diagnosed with ovarian cancer are sixty-three years or older. Again, it is more common among white women as compared to their African-American counterparts.
The diagnosis of ovarian cancer starts with a physical examination, where your doctor will look at your history, and conduct a physical examination for ovarian cancer signs. These could include the presence of fluid in your abdomen or an enlarged ovary. If there are concrete reasons to believe that you have the diseases based on the symptoms, the doctor will recommend further tests for confirmation.
So today in this post, we want to discuss in excruciating detail, some of the common ovarian cancer diagnostic tests.
Blood test (CA-125) assay.
This particular test involves determining if the CA-125 levels have increased in your blood. This marker is present in higher amounts among individuals with cancer of the ovary, peritoneal cancer, and fallopian endometriosis. Even though the CA-125 is such an essential procedure, it is not usually a definitive marker for the disease. Why? Certain non-cancerous medical problems related to the ovaries can also raise the levels of CA-125. Again, some ovarian cancers might not produce sufficient amounts of CA-125 to result in a positive test. Due to these reasons, this test is not always regarded as the best screening procedure for women at risk for cancer of the ovary.
The CT Scan.
Computed Tomography Scan, CT, creates a three-dimensional image of the patients' inside body, through x-rays taken from different angles. Through the X-rays, the structures of your internal body are captured using a small amount of radiation. The computer device combines all these pictures into a cross-sectional and a detailed view, which can now reveal any tumors or abnormalities. It is critical to note that a CT scan also measures the tumor’s size. Even though the test is very efficient and continues to evolve, abnormalities or tumors less than five millimeters can be extremely difficult to see.
Positron emission tomography scan.
In this particular test, a radioactive sugar or glucose is administered so as to identify cancer. It is based on the mere fact that cancers frequently use sugar at a higher rate compared to normal tissues, and the radioactivity will tend to concentrate in the cancerous region. A scanner is used to spot the resulting radioactive deposits. This particular test has proved useful in diagnosing ovarian cancer which has spread.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging employs the use of magnetic fields and not the x-rays to produce a detailed image of your body. The test can also measure the size of the tumor. Typically, a special dye, known as a contrast medium, is given before the scan so as to create a clearer image. MRI scan takes longer than the CT scans, typically about thirty minutes or more. Again, you’ll have to be placed inside a certain tube, which is not only confining but can also upset individuals with claustrophobia as well. Due to these reasons, MRI tests are not always preferred.
It is critical to know that this particular test is often the first test conducted if a problem with the ovaries is suspected. An ultrasound wand is inserted into the birth canal and aimed at the uterus and the ovaries. An ultrasound utilizes sound waves to create an image of the ovaries, including healthy tissues, tumors, and cysts. The test is useful in finding an ovarian tumor.
This procedure uses a lighted, thin tube through which the doctor can examine the ovaries and other pelvic organs and the tissues in the region. The tube is inserted via a small incision in the lower abdomen and transmits the images of the pelvis to a video monitor. This test provides a detailed view of the organs, and this helps the doctor to identify and confirm the current stage of ovarian cancer.
This refers to a medical procedure which eliminates the peritoneal fluid which has built inside the patient’s abdomen. A sample of this fluid is then examined under a microscope for signs of ovarian cancer.
Ultimately, the best determine if a particular growth is cancerous is to eliminate a sample of the growth and examine it under a powerful microscope. This process is known a biopsy. The other tests can only suggest that you have ovarian cancer, but only a biopsy results in a definitive diagnosis.
The Bottom Line.
There is no doubt that extensive studies involving new screening tests for cancer of the ovary are underway and latest diagnostic tests might just be around the corner. However, as at now, these are the available diagnostic procedures for ovarian cancer.