Part 2: Initial tests for ovarian cancer
NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Ovarian cancer
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Par t 2
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Par t 10
Symptoms and signs
Your doctor may think it is possible that you have ovarian
cancer because of certain symptoms or signs. Or, ovarian
cancer may have been found or confirmed during surgery.
Part 2 first describes the symptoms and signs of ovarian
cancer that are used to find (diagnose) ovarian cancer.
Next, the recommended tests for treatment planning are
Symptoms of ovarian cancer
Pain in pelvis or abdomen,
Trouble eating or feeling full fast, or
Need to urinate frequently or urgently
One way to find ovarian cancer early is to know the
symptoms of the cancer listed above. Ovarian cancer is
more likely to be the cause of these symptoms if they are
new (began less than 1 year ago) and frequent (occur
more than 12 days each month). If this describes you,
tell your doctor about your symptoms. However, ovarian
cancer does not always cause symptoms. Or, ovarian
cancer may not cause symptoms until it has grown very
large or has spread.
It is hard to find ovarian cancer early for two main reasons.
First, the symptoms caused by ovarian cancer can also be
caused by many other common health conditions. Second,
there are no reliable screening tests for ovarian cancer.
Screening tests—such as a Pap smear for cervical cancer
and mammogram for breast cancer—are used to find
cancer early before it causes symptoms.
Signs of ovarian cancer
Mass in your pelvis,
Fluid buildup in your abdomen, or
Your abdomen is enlarged
Symptoms are health problems that you report to your
doctor. You may or may not notice signs of disease, but
your doctor can find them by doing an exam of your body.
Your doctor may feel a mass in your pelvis because of a
tumor or enlarged ovary, which may be a sign of ovarian
cancer. Ovarian cancer can also lead to excess fluid
buildup (ascites) in your pelvis and abdomen, which can
cause swelling. Your doctor may think it is possible that you
have ovarian cancer based on the signs listed above. But,
many other health conditions could be the cause, so your
doctor will give different tests and exams to confirm or rule
out ovarian cancer.