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View Full Version : How do they test for Ovarian Cancer?


elbows
09-10-2005, 09:39 AM
Pap smear?

Ultrasound?

Um, that's all I got. Anyone have any experience with tests for this?

Thanks for your help.

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-10-2005, 10:00 AM
There's no good screening test for ovarian cancer. An ultrasound can show it, but it's not real good at telling the difference between ovarian cancer and a lot of benign conditions.

To make the diagnosis, I believe laparoscopy is done, with a biopsy of suspicious-looking tissue.

Annie-Xmas
09-10-2005, 10:30 AM
Both Gilda Radner's "It's Always Something" and Fran Drescher's "Cancer Schmancer" are good books that describe the hell these women went through before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. They both had multiple symptoms and went to multiple doctors before finding out what was wrong.

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-10-2005, 11:18 AM
Both Gilda Radner's "It's Always Something" and Fran Drescher's "Cancer Schmancer" are good books that describe the hell these women went through before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. They both had multiple symptoms and went to multiple doctors before finding out what was wrong.
Well, it is a tough diagnosis to make. The symptoms are pretty non-specific, and frankly, once the cancer is advanced enough to cause symptoms it's almost always too late to treat successfully.

A sad situation. I am hopeful that one day a decent screening test will be invented that can catch it early enough to cure it. But I don't think it will be anytime soon.

We discussed this a bit a while back, in a thread about screening tests:http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=323040
One must do more good than harm with screening tests.

Take ovarian cancer for example. Virtually without symptoms until it's too late to cure. Then you die.

One can find it with a pelvic ultrasound, before it is so far advanced. Early enough to cure it. So do we ultrasound every woman over 25 every year for the rest of her life? It'll cost billions, and we'll have to train thousands more ultrasound techs, and radiologists to read the ultrasounds.

Oh, by the way, ovarian cancer is rare enough that for every case you find, you'll have about 15,000 false positives for it on the ultrasound. (I'm approximating these numbers, as I don't have them at my fingertips). So for those 15,000 they'll have to have laparoscopy, an invasive surgical procedure. About 150-300 of those will have significant complications from the procedure (1-2% complication rate) and 1-3 will die from the complications.

So to pick up one cancer early enough to save a life, Billions have been spent and 1 to 3 people have died, and 150-300 have been sickened.

elbows
09-10-2005, 01:58 PM
Well I've just learned a few things about Ovarian cancer.

It seems that 6 of 10 women, in Canada, diagnosed with this, will die from it.
Much has been made lately, in the press, of striving to change this.

To this end there are public service commericials now appearing on late night TV. They say which symptoms to watch for and to see your doctor early rather than later.

For the first time in my life, I sat there and thought, geez, I actually have every one of those symptoms, how odd.

The symptoms are general and easily attributable to other things, like menopause for one. So, I'm thinking of calling the Dr. on Monday, though I feel a little silly, I gotta say, as I'm not bleeding or in pain. Hmmm.

I suppose this is why they run these adds.

Thanks for all your information. Just thought I'd check to see how invasive any testing might be that comes at me as a result of my inquiries. And I will check out those books, thanks again.