Ovarian cancer, also known as a silent killer, is one of the most severe and dreadful diseases that a woman could suffer from. Ovarian cancer is also known by this other name because a lot of times, the cancer strikes without any symptoms. The first symptoms begin to appear when the disease reaches an advanced stage.
Statistics have revealed that about one third of all American women suffer from one type of cancer or another in their lifetime. Half of these women suffer from ovarian cancer, making it the most common kind of cancer in women.
Since there are no early symptoms in this kind of cancer, it becomes extremely difficult to detect. The test for ovarian cancer is usually not performed until the patient begins to experience the initial symptoms, by which time it is already too late and the disease has already progressed to an advanced stage.
The cancer can involve either one or both the ovaries. If ovarian cancer is detected early on, there are ninety percent chances of completely treating it. However, in almost 75% of the cases, by the time the cancer is detected, it has already spread to the abdominal region and becomes almost incurable.
The cancer may be detected during a regular gynecological examination. Using a pelvic or a rectal examination, the gynecologist will check the ovaries to look for the presence of cysts or fibroids. If there are any abnormalities, an X-ray or an ultrasound would be recommended. Laparoscopy is performed in case of additional tests.
For those wondering how to test for ovarian cancer, there is a new ovarian cancer test which requires an ultrasound and a blood test. This screening test is extremely efficient and can help in the early detection of ovarian cancer. The blood test is usually ordered to check for a protein called CA 125, which is essentially a cancer protein. This protein is usually present in the blood of a woman who has ovarian cancer.
The new test for ovarian cancer can also help evaluate the growth of the tumor. Though these tests are widely used, neither the ultrasound nor the blood tests have proven to be the most reliable tests for detecting cancerous growths in the ovaries.
Sometimes, the blood tests may show the presence of CA 125 even if the woman doesn’t have any cancers in the body. Endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and pelvic infections can also cause the blood report to show positive for cancer. Regular gynecological examinations remain one of the best ways to ensure early detection of the disease.