Ovarian Cancer Screening

 Unfortunately, there is no effective routine screening technique for ovarian cancer.  Studies are ongoing to determine if certain blood tests or possibly imaging techniques, like ultrasound, might be effective.  In order to be an effective screening test, the test should be sensitive(does not miss cancer when it is present) and specific  (is reasonably sure that the cancer is present when the test is positive).

 A pelvic examination can be done to try to physically examine the ovaries during a routine exam.  The examination may not be able to detect cancer though.  Unlike cervical cancer, there is no test to detect a precancerous stage of ovarian cancer.

 Some women have been identified who have a genetic marker that is associated with a higher risk of cancer.  Those women may be advised to have the ovaries removed to try to prevent ovarian cancer.  A family history of ovarian cancer could be a clue that the gene is present.  Gene testing may become routine in the future if it proves effective.