Rising up against ovarian cancer

If you have symptoms or feel you are at high risk, speak with your medical provider and ask them to rule out ovarian cancer with these tests and procedures.

It is important to note that these tests, when administered independently of each other, are less effective in detecting ovarian cancer than when they are used in combination. Ongoing research is aimed at finding a test that will effectively screen for ovarian cancer -- in its early stages, before it has spread. NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative dreams of the day when a screening test is developed and becomes a routine part of every woman's annual exam, just like a Pap test and mammogram.

Woman getting a physical examPhysical Exam, including a recto-vaginal exam that allows the doctor to feel for a mass or other abnormal condition that might indicate ovarian cancer. This should be a part of every woman's annual checkup with her gynecologist or primary care provider.
UltrasoundTrans-vaginal ultrasound providing the best view of the ovaries and other organs or masses that may indicate a need for further testing.
Image of woman getting her blood testedCA-125 blood test measuring the level of a cancer antigen protein found in many, but not all, ovarian cancer cells. Caution must be taken when interpreting the results of this test because it has a high incidence of both false positives and false negatives and there are many other conditions that can produce elevated levels of the CA-125 protein.

The only way to confirm the presence of ovarian cancer is through a pathology report


If your medical provider suspects you have ovarian cancer, the only
way to positively determine its presence is by examining the cells.
Before a definitive diagnosis  can be made, your provider may order a
number of additional tests and procedures, including:

  • Imaging tests, such as a CT scan, MRI or PET scan
  • Additional blood tests that identify a variety of molecular properties known to exist when ovarian cancer is present
  • Biopsies obtained through aspiration, paracentesis or surgery

If ovarian cancer is suspected, there are additional tests that can indicate both the presence of ovarian cancer cells and/or the risk of malignancy. These tests can help your doctor determine the next steps in treating the disease.

if ovarian cancer is suspected or cannot be ruled out, your best chance for survival is to be treated by a gynecologic oncologist. They have additional medical training and are specialists in the field of female reproductive cancers. They are board-certified for debulking surgery and are FIVE times more likely to completely remove ovarian cancer cells during surgery. Women who are referred to gynecologic oncologists for surgery live 30% longer than those who aren't.