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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Ovarian Cancer, Version 1.2017


Testing for ovarian cancer

Imaging tests

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

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

treatment results.

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.