NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Ovarian Cancer - page 17

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Part 2: Initial tests for ovarian cancer
NCCN Guidelines for Patients
®
: Ovarian cancer
Version 1.2013
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PET scan
A PET scan shows how metabolically active your cells are by using a simple form
of sugar. To create pictures, a sugar radiotracer first needs to be put into your
body. Active cancer cells ingest the tracer, which then lets out a small amount of
energy that is seen by the machine that takes pictures. Cancer cells use sugar
faster than normal cells, so they look brighter in the pictures. PET is very good at
showing small groups of cancer cells. Often, CT is given along with PET, called a
PET-CT scan.
Scopes
A scope is a long, thin tube that can be guided into your body, often through the
mouth, anus, or a surgical cut. One end of the scope has a small light and camera
lens to see inside your body. At the other end of the scope is an eyepiece that your
doctor looks through to see the images shown by the camera. For ovarian cancer,
scoping tools may be used to see inside your GI tract. The GI tract includes organs
that food passes through when you eat, such as your stomach, small intestine,
large intestine (colon), and rectum.
Blood tests
Blood tests are used to check for signs of disease, how well organs are working,
and treatment results. One common blood test is a CBC (
c
omplete
b
lood
c
ount).
This test counts the number of blood cells in a blood sample. Too many or too few
cells may signal there’s a problem.
Another common test is a blood chemistry profile. This test checks if levels of
chemicals in the blood are too low or too high. Abnormal chemical levels may be
a sign that an organ—such as the liver or kidneys—isn’t working well. Abnormal
chemical levels in the blood can be caused by cancer or other diseases.
Definitions:
Large intestine:
The organ
that prepares unused food
for leaving the body
Lymph nodes:
Small
groups of special disease-
fighting cells located
throughout the body
Metabolic:
Having to do
with chemical changes that
take place in a cell
Rectum:
The last part of
the large intestine (organ
that prepares unused food
for leaving the body)
Small intestine:
The organ
that absorbs nutrients from
eaten food
Acronyms:
CT =
Computed tomography
MRI =
Magnetic resonance
imaging
PET =
Positron emission
tomography
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