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OVARIAN CANCER

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How is it diagnosed?

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Written by : DoctorNDTV Team

Ovarian cancer is most often detected during a pelvic internal examination conducted by a gynaecologist for some other purpose. A pelvic exam includes manual examination of the various organs in the pelvic area which includes the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and the vagina. If the doctor feels a mass in the ovaries, she may ask for an ultrasound scan or sonography of the area. In this procedure, a probe is inserted into the vagina which sends off sound waves from within. These sound waves depict pictorially the inside of the pelvis.

If a mass is detected, a CA-125 assay is done. CA-125 is a tumour marker and its concentration in blood increases in ovarian cancer. However, this is not a 100% reliable procedure since sometimes the cancer may be missed and in some cases, it may be positive even when the growth is benign. A biopsy sample may be taken by an operation or through a laparoscope. The biopsy confirms the diagnosis.

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