The bad news regarding ovarian cancer diagnosis is that in the majority of the cases the condition doesn’t have any other symptoms than abdominal swelling.
In case your doctor thinks that you are affected by the condition, he or she might perform a physical examination and different tests besides analyzing your medical history to facilitate the diagnosis.
Screening for the diagnosis of ovarian cancer
The main point of screening is to find the condition at an early stage or to find the precancerous cells. Nonetheless the screening that is available at the moment isn’t efficient enough to be used for the general public. This is why it isn’t recommended to have screening for ovarian cancer.
When the doctor is asking about your medical history regarding the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, most probably you will have to answer questions related to the use of birth control pills, breast feeding and pregnancy, family history, gynecologic surgery or other cancer history.
Other questions for the ovarian cancer diagnosis include the smoking habits and exposure to dangerous substances. In case your doctor suspects that you are affected by the condition, he or she most probably will refer you to a cancer specialist, like a gynecologic oncologist.
Regarding the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, besides the abdominal area the doctor will also check the pelvic area. During the examination the doctor will palpate the area to see whether there are any masses, growths or nodules. All of these are smaller masses of tissue.
In order to recognize the enlarged ovaries during the ovarian cancer diagnosis, there is need for two hands examination. Besides this kind of examination, the doctor could palpate the floor of the pelvis as well to see whether you have ovarian cancer.
Usually the diagnosis of ovarian cancer starts with women experiencing abdominal swelling, but keep in mind that this could also be caused by other conditions. There are some other ways as well to recognize ovarian cancer, such as the Pap smear.
During this test the specialist will use a brush or a scrape on the surface of your upper vagina and cervix to gather sample.
The sample for the ovarian cancer diagnosis will be smeared on a slide and it will be analyzed at a laboratory to see whether there are any abnormal cells. In the majority of the cases it is used to find cervical cancer, but on some occasions the doctors could also find ovarian cancer.
Although the Pap smear cannot be used to determine the right diagnosis, it could be used to confirm an existing one.
Blood tests could also be used to achieve diagnosis of ovarian cancer. These blood tests test for tumor markers found in the blood. In case of a cancer the levels of these proteins is higher.
This is one way to confirm a diagnosis but it could also be used later to monitor the progress of the condition. As you can see ovarian cancer diagnosis involves a lot of medical process.