One of the deadliest cancers that can affect women, the problem with early detection of ovarian cancer is the symptoms that are very perplexing that it may look like a simple case of irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion or a severe menstrual cramp. Women ignore these symptoms with a big shrug and walk themselves to the road of death.
Coming to the question of how ovarian cancer can be detected early, there are many testing methods that can be undertaken at the first instance of abnormal symptoms to make the cancer very much treatable and completely curable. Here, we discuss the methods of testing used for detecting ovarian cancer.
Symptoms Of Ovarian Cancer
The general symptoms associated with ovarian cancer are bloating or a feeling of pressure and swelling in the lower abdominal area, difficulty in passing stools and urinating, pain in the abdominal region and pelvic area, pain while having intercourse, heavy menstruation and abnormal bleeding, especially after sexual intercourse, loss of appetite and inexplicable weight loss and severe fatigue. These symptoms may not be very prominent; but look closer and you will that they have always been troubling you on a low scale.
Testing And Diagnosis Of Ovarian Cancer
The first step in diagnosis of ovarian cancer is a simple pelvic examination conducted by the doctor where she will feel with the fingers whether any lump or change is shape is detectable. More tests would be recommended in case the doctor feels that something is amiss.
CA 125 Blood Test
CA 125 is a protein that is found in excess in the blood of people with ovarian cancer. However, the presence of this protein will still not be good enough for you to confirm the presence of ovarian cancer, even though this test too is very important in assessing the overall result of your testing procedures.
Imaging and Ultrasound Scans
An ultrasound is the next step where the technician will see if there are any abnormal growths in the ovaries. If detected, these will be tested further for malignancy. Ultra sound scans cannot test for cancerous tissues as it is only an imaging procedure for checking growths.
An MRI can help in such cases where cancerous and benign tumours can be easily segregated through the clear images that are generated by the machine. In most cases the MRI is clear enough to make a perfect diagnosis. But still the live tissues need to be tested for a complete and confirmed diagnosis.
Biopsy And Laparoscopy
A laparoscopic procedure involves the insertion of a small device into the abdomen through an incision to check the internal regions for cancerous tumours. The doctor can check the condition of the ovaries through the images generated by the laparoscope. In this procedure, tissues are removed as well for testing for malignancy. If a malignancy is suspected by the doctor, he will remove as much of the cancerous tissue as possible in this procedure itself to avoid another session.
For fluid accumulation in the abdominal area, a fine needle aspiration can be done where the fluid is removed and send for testing. At the testing centre, the pathologist will be able to identify the stage and the extent of the cancer after which treatment methods can be graphed out.