NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Ovarian Cancer, Version 1.2017
Testing for ovarian cancer
During the pelvic exam, your doctor will feel for
abnormal changes in the size, shape, or position
of your ovaries and uterus. A special widening
instrument will be used to view your vagina and
cervix. A sample may be taken for a Pap test at this
Imaging tests take pictures (images) of the inside
of your body. Doctors use imaging tests to check if
there is a tumor in your ovaries. The pictures can
show the tumor size, shape, and location. They can
also show if the cancer has spread beyond your
ovaries. Different types of imaging tests are used to
look for ovarian cancer, plan treatment, and check
Getting an imaging test is often easy. Before the test,
you may be asked to stop eating or drinking for a few
hours. You may also need to remove metal objects
from your body. The types of imaging tests used for
ovarian cancer are described next.
An ultrasound is a test that uses sound waves to
take pictures of the inside of the body. It is often the
first imaging test given to look for ovarian cancer.
Ultrasound is good at showing the size, shape, and
location of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and
nearby tissues. It can also show if there is a mass in
the ovary and whether the mass is solid or filled with
This test uses a hand-held device called an
ultrasound probe. The probe sends out sound waves
that bounce off organs and tissues to make echoes.
The probe also picks up the echoes. A computer
uses the echoes to make a picture that is shown on a
screen. There are two types of ultrasounds that may
be used to look for ovarian cancer: transabdominal
ultrasound and transvaginal ultrasound.
See Figure 5.