What You Need To Know
An ovarian cancer diagnosis can be quite difficult to confirm due to the fact that symptoms are quite vague and non specific. This means that a physician is likely to employ several different methods in order to confirm your diagnosis.
Taking a long look at your medical history is vital to the process of determining if there is some chance for an ovarian cancer diagnosis. Your doctor will consider your history (or lack thereof) with the use of oral contraceptives. This is important, since women who use birth control pills exhibit less of a chance of developing this form of cancer.
Family history is also important to assessing the possibility of a positive diagnosis. As with many other types of cancer, the incidence of ovarian cancer in close female relatives like a mother or sister can indicate an increased possibility of developing the disease. Your personal medical history is also important, especially if you have undergone a tubal ligation or hysterectomy, as these types of procedures reduce the possibility of developing ovarian cancer.
Your personal habits will also be taken into consideration for your diagnosis. Any history of past or present smoking is considered important information. Your doctor is also likely to inquire about workplace conditions, and exposure to different chemicals or various environmental factors that could play a role in the development of cancer.
A pelvic examination is also often used in the process to identify an ovarian cancer diagnosis. During the exam, your doctor is likely to pay close attention to any growths or masses that are under the skin. In most cases, he or she will palpate the mass to get an idea of the texture of the mass. The process requires your doctor to palpate the area that is directly over the ovaries by inserting one or two fingers of one hand into the vagina while using the other hand to palpate the same general area on the outer epidermal layer. This makes it possible to more accurately judge the position and size of the mass, and determine what steps are necessary to continue the process of obtaining an accurate diagnosis.
If the initial steps in the diagnostic process indicate there is a need to continue, various Ovarian Cancer Tests are employed as part of a screening process. The screening can help to define the exact stage of the condition and make it possible to determine the best course of action to follow with the treatment segment of a positive diagnosis. To complement the findings of the ovarian palpation, your doctor is also likely to order one or a combination of the following:
- Ovarian Cancer Ultrasound
- Transvaginal Sonogram
- Blood Test
- CA-125 Test
- Exploratory Laparotomy, if one or more of the above tests suggests the presence of ovarian cancer.
When the results of one or more of the above tests suggests the presence of ovarian cancer, laparoscopy surgery maybe performed to confirm whether or not ovarian cancer is present.
Contrary to popular belief, a Pap Test is Not used to diagnose Ovarian Cancer.
It is important to realize that an accurate ovarian cancer diagnosis does not take place in a couple of minutes. However, proceeding in a methodical manner and taking into consideration any information given by yourself to your doctor and the initial testing will indicate if there is reason to proceed with a more comprehensive investigation. Until your doctor confirms an ovarian cancer diagnosis, you should refrain from assuming the worst and attempt to continue your daily routine as best as possible.
The most important recommendation I can make is to get a second opinion if you do get a positive diagnosis. On the other hand, you would want a second opinion if you have reason to believe that your condition is more serious that what your doctor has diagnosed. Taking responsibility for your health and not relying on what one person says is the best approach.