NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Ovarian Cancer - page 13

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Part 2: Initial tests for ovarian cancer
NCCN Guidelines for Patients
®
: Ovarian cancer
Version 1.2013
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Definitions:
Cervix:
The lower end of
the uterus that connects to
the vagina
Genetic counseling:
Discussion with a health
expert about a disease
caused by abnormal
information in cells that is
passed down from parents
to children
Ovaries:
The pair of
organs in females that
make eggs and hormones
Pelvis:
The area between
the hip bones
Uterus:
The female organ
where babies grow during
pregnancy
Vagina:
A hollow, muscular
tube at the base of a
woman’s uterus through
which babies are born
run in some families. If you have a family history of ovarian, breast, or colon
cancer, this may suggest that the ovarian cancer runs in your family. Having
abnormal changes (mutations) in the
BRCA1
or
BRCA2
genes increases the
risk for ovarian cancer. Genes are the instructions in cells that control how cells
behave. These gene mutations can be passed down from parents to children.
If your doctor thinks you may have this gene mutation based on your family
medical history, then genetic counseling may be recommended.
Abdominal and pelvic exam
Your doctor will perform a physical examination of your belly area (abdomen)
and pelvis along with taking a family and medical history. A physical examination
is a review of your body for signs of disease.
For an abdominal exam, your doctor will feel the different areas of your belly to
see if organs are of normal size, are soft or hard, or cause pain when touched.
Your doctor will also feel your abdomen to check for fluid buildup (called ascites)
in your belly area and around your ovaries. During the pelvic exam, your doctor
will feel for any lumps or unusual changes in the size, shape, or position of your
uterus and ovaries. Your doctor will use a special widening instrument to view
your vagina and cervix and possibly to take a sample for a Pap test as well.
During a general body exam, your doctor will listen to your lungs, heart, and gut.
This is to assess your general health and check for signs that the cancer has
spread to other parts of your body. This exam also helps your doctor know if you
are healthy enough for certain types of treatment for ovarian cancer.
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