Part 2: Initial tests for ovarian cancer
NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Ovarian cancer
A CT scan takes many pictures of a part of the body from
different angles using x-rays. See Figure 5. A CT scan of
your chest, abdomen, and pelvis may be given initially to
look for ovarian cancer. A CT scan is good at showing if
the cancer has spread outside of your ovaries. But, it is not
good at showing small tumors. A CT scan may also show if
nearby lymph nodes are bigger than normal, which can be
caused by cancer cells spreading to the lymph nodes.
Before the test, you may be given a contrast dye to make the
pictures clearer. The dye will be put in a glass of water for
you to drink, or it may be injected into your vein. It may cause
you to feel flushed or get hives (itchy, swollen, and red skin).
Rarely, serious allergic reactions occur. Allergic reactions are
symptoms caused by the body trying to rid itself of invaders.
Tell your doctor if you have had bad reactions before.
An MRI scan is like a CT scan except it uses radio waves
and powerful magnets to take pictures of the inside of your
body. An MRI scan may cause your body to feel a bit warm.
Like a CT scan, a contrast dye may be used. An MRI scan
may be given to look for cancer in your chest. It may also be
given after treatment to check if treatment worked or if the
cancer has spread.
Figure 5. CT scan