Ovarian cancer is often called the silent killer because in its early stages it has no symptoms.
By the time symptoms are noticeable, the cancer has often advanced past the early stages, and most women do not survive.
Now, a new way of screening patients may offer doctors and women the chance to catch early warning signs of ovarian cancer for better treatment. Better yet, the screening method involves testing methods already available.
Routine screening with transvaginal ultrasound and the CA125 blood test can be a reliable screening method and help doctors diagnose ovarian cancer in its early stages, when almost all women can be cured.
Best outcomes resulted in using both methods of screening together. Both tests are relatively inexpensive, and easy to conduct in the physician’s office.
The CA125 blood test only requires a sample of blood, and the transvaginal ultrasound requires the physician to insert an ultrasound probe into the woman’s vagina which allows examination of the cervix, uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Most cancers of a woman’s reproductive system are found in the ovaries. Some of the risk factors for developing ovarian cancer include:
- being post-menopausal
- having a BMI of 30 or greater
- having no children
- having never breastfed a child
- having used the fertility drug Clomid [Clomid side effects]
- taking estrogen replacement therapy
- having had breast cancer
- having a family history of breast or ovarian cancer
If you have any of these risk factors, you may wish to ask your doctor about this new screening method.
At present it is not considered standard practice, but as research continues to demonstrate its effectiveness, it may become as common a screening test for women’s health as the Pap smear and mammograms.