How to Detect Ovarian Cancer Early

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Feb 18, 2012

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How to detect ovarian cancer early


Ovarian cancer as the name suggests originates from a group of diverse tissues in the ovaries. Ovaries being so deep seated in a woman’s physiology are difficult to detect at an early stage either through physical examination of with the help of microscopic detection techniques. Cancer in the ovary occurs similar to the way it occurs in any other body part, that is, when the cells undergo transformation and multiply rapidly without any control.

Over 15,000 women die of ovarian cancer in United States alone. The mortality rate is high because this particular type of cancer isn’t detected during the early stages and is noticeable only during the advanced stages where patients don’t respond to the treatments administered anymore. It is therefore called the “silent killer”.


Some latent symptoms of ovarian cancer

  • Occasional pain in the lower abdomen
  • Feeling full even on an empty stomach
  • Discomfort in the pelvic region
  • Unjustified gas, indigestion or bloating
  • Abnormal pain during intercourse
  • Trouble while breathing
  • Nausea
  • Fluctuations in bowel movements
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Urinary problems- burning or spasms

The symptoms of ovarian cancer are so salient that though a lot of them would seem normal they actually may be hints for you to pay a visit to your doctor. Approximately 90% of women, visit their doctor with these symptoms before they are confirmed with ovarian cancer.

Clinical technique of detecting ovarian cancer

Though ovarian cancer could be detected during gynaecological checkups, it is advisable to consult your doctor for more clinically tested methods. One of the most sophisticated and widely used tests is a blood test known as CA 125.

The CA 125 test filters and identifies proteins that are typical of an ovarian tumour growth. Though this test has a limitation, the proteins it identifies are also present in women having benign fibroids, pelvic infection, and non-gynaecological problems or are even pregnant, so this test is not 100% accurate, but good enough for you to pursue the consultation with your doctor on a timely basis.


A medical breakthrough

Doctors at MD Anderson conducted a study on a sample of 3,500 women, aged between 50 years to 75 years, where they tested women for the presence of CA 125 protein over a time period of 8 years. At the onset they chose to test the relevance of this hypothesis on healthy women. They were then screened at regular intervals and if there was any change in the protein level, the respondents were subject to a detailed pelvic examination via an ultrasound. If the condition was believed to be more critical, an exploratory surgery was conducted.  8 women were detected with tumours out of which 5 were malignant and detected at early stages.

A pelvic examination with a recto-vaginal constituent, a CA 125 blood test and a vaginal ultrasound will alert your doctor of any possibility of ovarian cancer.


Read more articles on Ovarian Cancer Signs and Symptoms



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