If you’re experiencing symptoms that might indicate ovarian cancer, your doctor will offer cancer tests and exams to determine the reason.
Physical examination and medical history
You’ll also be asked whether you’re experiencing any symptoms, when they began, and how long you’ve been experiencing them. A pelvic exam will most likely be performed to look for an enlarged ovary or symptoms of fluid in the abdomen.
Consultation with a specialist
An obstetrician/gynecologist who specializes in malignancies of the female reproductive system is known as a gynecologic oncologist. A gynecologic oncologist can ensure that you receive the optimum type of surgery for your malignancy. It has also been demonstrated to prolong people’s lives with ovarian cancer. Before having surgery, anyone suspected of having ovarian cancer should consult this sort of doctor.
Doctors use imaging tests to acquire photos of the inside of your body. Imaging studies can reveal the presence of a pelvic tumor, but they cannot establish if the lump is cancerous. These tests are also helpful if your doctor wants to discover if your ovarian cancer has spread to other tissues and organs (metastasized).
Ultrasound (ultrasonography) creates a picture on a video screen using sound waves. A tiny probe is inserted into the woman’s vaginal canal, and a transducer, small microphone-like equipment, emits sound waves and picks up echoes when they bounce off organs. These echoes are converted into a picture on the screen by a computer.
The test can tell you if your ovarian cancer has spread to other parts of your body.
During this technique, the patient remains on the CT scanning table, known as a CT-guided needle biopsy, as a radiologist guides a biopsy needle near the mass. CT scans are repeated until the physicians are certain the needle is inserted into the group.
Barium enema x-ray
A barium enema is a test that determines if cancer has spread to the colon (large intestine) or the rectum (small intestine). For women with ovarian cancer, this test is rarely utilized. Instead, a colonoscopy may be performed.
Scans using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
MRI scans also produce cross-section images of your inside organs. On the other hand, MRI creates pictures with powerful magnets rather than x-rays.
An x-ray may be used to see if ovarian cancer has gone to the lungs (metastasized). This spread can result in lung tumors and fluid accumulation surrounding the lungs. A pleural effusion is a fluid that may be observed on chest x-rays and other types of imaging.
PET scan (positron emission tomography)
A PET scan uses radioactive glucose (sugar) to search for cancer. Depending on how quickly body cells develop, varying quantities of sugar are taken in. Cancer cells, which form fast, are more prone than normal cells to take up vast amounts of sugar. To produce an image of locations of radioactivity in the body, a specific camera is utilized.
This technique involves a doctor looking at the ovaries and other pelvic organs and tissues using a thin, illuminated tube. The tube is placed into the lower abdomen through a minor incision (cut) and transmits the pelvis or abdomen pictures to a video display.
It is injected into the rectum and colon through the anus. Any aberrant spots that are discovered can be biopsied. Colorectal cancer is the most prevalent reason for this treatment.
The only way to know if growth is cancer is to take a sample and analyze it in a lab. The most common way to biopsy ovarian cancer is to remove the tumor during surgery.
The tissue or fluid recovered is delivered to the lab in these procedures. A pathologist specializing in diagnosing and categorizing illnesses by studying cells under a microscope and using other laboratory tests examines it there.
Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), and lactate dehydrogenase levels in the blood can be raised in certain germ cell tumors (LDH). If your doctor believes that your ovarian tumor is a germ cell tumor, several tests may be performed.
The blood levels of a protein called inhibin and hormones like estrogen and testosterone rise in certain ovarian stromal tumors. If your doctor believes you have this sort of tumor, these levels may be tested.
Tests for gene alterations at the molecular level
Doctors may test for particular gene alterations in cancer cells (rather than blood or saliva samples) in some cases of ovarian cancer to see if targeted, or immunotherapy medications will help treat the disease. These molecular tests can be performed on a piece of cancer collected after an ovarian cancer biopsy or surgery.
- BRCA gene mutations are generally involved in DNA repair, and mutations in these genes can cause DNA to remain damaged, preventing cells from functioning correctly. BRCA gene mutations are seen in certain ovarian tumors.
- NTRK gene mutations: Changes in one of the NTRK genes may be investigated in certain ovarian tumors. These gene alterations in cells can result in aberrant cell proliferation and cancer and can be sensitive cancer test.