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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Ovarian Cancer, Version 1.2017


Testing for ovarian cancer

Imaging tests

One x-ray scan is completed in about 30 seconds.

But, the full exam may take 15 to 60 minutes

to complete. More or less time may be needed

depending on the part of your body being scanned.

A computer will combine all the x-ray pictures into

one detailed picture. You may not learn of the results

for a few days since a radiologist needs to see the

pictures. A radiologist is a doctor who’s an expert in

reading the pictures from imaging tests.

MRI scan

An MRI scan uses radio waves and powerful

magnets to take pictures of the inside of the body.

It does not use x-rays. This type of scan is good at

showing the spine and soft tissues like the brain.

An MRI scan of your abdomen and pelvis may be

used to look for ovarian cancer if the ultrasound was

unclear. An MRI scan of your chest may be used to

look for signs of cancer spread. This test may also

be used to check treatment results and to assess for

cancer spread to other parts of the body.

Getting an MRI scan is similar to getting a CT scan.

But, MRI scans take longer to complete. The full

exam can take an hour or more. For the scan, you

will need to lie on a table that moves through a

large tunnel in the scanning machine. The scan may

cause your body to feel a bit warm. Like a CT scan,

a contrast dye may be used to make the pictures

clearer. You may not learn of the results for a few

days since a radiologist needs to see and interpret

the pictures.

PET scan







omography) scan shows

how your cells are using a simple form of sugar. To

create pictures, a sugar radiotracer first needs to be

put into your body with an injection into a vein.

The radiotracer emits a small amount of energy that

is detected by the machine that takes pictures. Active

cancer cells use sugar faster than normal cells. Thus,

cancer cells look brighter in the pictures.

PET is very good at showing small groups of cancer

cells. This test may also be useful for showing if

ovarian cancer has spread. Sometimes, PET is

combined with CT—called a PET/CT scan.

Chest x-ray

An x-ray uses small amounts of radiation to make

pictures of organs and tissues inside the body. A

tumor changes the way radiation is absorbed and

will show up on the x-ray picture. A chest x-ray can

be used to show if cancer has spread to your lungs.

This test may be given with other initial tests when

ovarian cancer is first suspected or found. It may also

be given after treatment to check treatment results. A

chest x-ray is painless and takes about 20 minutes to


GI evaluation

The GI tract is made of the organs that food passes

through when you eat. This includes your stomach,

small intestine, large intestine, and rectum. A GI

evaluation is an imaging test that is used to view your

GI tract. This test may be used in certain cases to

check for signs of cancer spread.

This imaging test uses a scope to see inside your GI

tract. 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 pictures shown by

the camera.