How Do You Screen For Ovarian Cancer?
The PAP test does not screen for ovarian cancer.
Currently, there are two screening tests that are used most often to detect ovarian cancer. There is research being conducted every day to develop a screening test for ovarian cancer but, at this time, there has not been much success.
The two screening tests most often used are:
CA-125 blood test - This test measures the amount of protein CA-125. Many women with ovarian cancer, not all, have high levels of CA-125. This blood test is not the most reliable ovarian cancer screening test as high levels of CA-125 can be attributed to other conditions such as endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
TVUS (transvaginal ultrasound) - this test utilizes an ultrasound wand that is inserted into the vagina. This screening test can help find tumors in the ovary but can not detect if the tumor is cancer or benign.
If you are considered to be at average risk for ovarian cancer there are no recommended screening tests. However, if you are at a high risk your doctor may consider the CA-125 blood test and/or the TVUS. It is important to remember, neither of those tests are definitive in diagnosing ovarian cancer.
Since there are no specific diagnostics tests available to screen for ovarian cancer it makes it even more important that you recognize warning signs and understand what you can do to reduce your risk for ovarian cancer.