How is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed?

Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis

If your physician detects anything concerning during a pelvic examination or if you experience symptoms that could be attributed to ovarian cancer in Sugarland, they will advise undergoing further examinations and tests to determine the underlying cause.

Medical history and physical exam

Medical history and physical exams are vital components of a comprehensive healthcare assessment. The medical history helps doctors understand a patient’s past health issues, while a physical exam allows them to assess current health status. These evaluations aid in diagnosing conditions, identifying risks, and developing appropriate treatment plans.

Consultation with a specialist

Seeking a consultation with a specialist is vital when dealing with complex or specific medical conditions. Whether you require expert advice for a particular health issue, a second opinion, or guidance on a treatment plan, consulting with a specialist can provide invaluable insights and personalized care. Specialists possess in-depth knowledge and experience in their respective fields, allowing them to offer tailored solutions and better address your healthcare needs. Don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with a specialist to ensure you receive the best possible medical attention.

Types of Imaging Tests

Imaging tests play a crucial role in diagnosing and evaluating various medical conditions. These non-invasive procedures use advanced technology to create detailed images of the internal structures of the body. Here are some key points about imaging tests:


X-rays use low doses of radiation to create images of bones and some organs. They are commonly used to diagnose fractures, joint problems, and certain lung conditions.

CT Scans: 

CT scans combine X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images of the body. They provide detailed views of organs, blood vessels, and soft tissues, making them valuable in diagnosing various conditions, such as tumors, infections, and internal injuries.


MRI uses a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to generate detailed images of organs and tissues. It is especially useful for examining the brain, spinal cord, muscles, and joints. MRI is often preferred for its ability to produce images without using radiation.


Ultrasound imaging utilizes high-frequency sound waves to create real-time images of internal organs and structures. It is commonly used during pregnancy to monitor fetal development, and it is also useful for assessing abdominal organs and blood flow.

PET Scans: 

PET scans involve injecting a small amount of radioactive material into the body to visualize metabolic processes. They are particularly valuable in detecting cancer, evaluating heart conditions, and assessing brain disorders.

Purpose of Imaging Tests: 

These tests are essential for diagnosing various conditions, evaluating the extent of diseases, and monitoring ovarian cancer treatment in Sugarland effectiveness. They help doctors identify abnormalities, tumors, infections, and other internal issues.

Non-Invasive and Painless: 

Imaging tests are typically non-invasive and painless procedures. Some may require contrast agents to enhance visibility, which may involve an injection or ingestion of a harmless dye.

Risks and Precautions:

Most imaging tests are safe, but some involve minimal exposure to radiation or contrast agents. Pregnant women should inform their doctors before undergoing any imaging tests to ensure safety for the baby.

Expert Interpretation: 

Radiologists and specialized physicians interpret the images obtained from these tests. Their expertise is critical in providing accurate diagnoses and guiding appropriate treatment plans.

Other Tests

In addition to imaging tests, there are several other diagnostic and screening tests used in the detection and evaluation of ovarian cancer. Here are some other ovarian cancer tests:

Blood Tests: 

Certain blood tests can help in the detection of ovarian cancer. One common blood test is the CA-125 test, which measures the level of the CA-125 protein in the blood. Elevated CA-125 levels may indicate the presence of ovarian cancer, but this test is not specific to ovarian cancer and can be affected by other conditions.


If a suspicious mass or tumor is found during imaging tests, a biopsy may be performed. A biopsy involves the removal of a small tissue sample from the tumor, which is then examined under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present.

Pelvic Examination: 

A pelvic exam is a physical examination of the pelvic organs, including the ovaries. While it cannot definitively diagnose ovarian cancer, it can help identify any palpable masses or abnormalities that may warrant further investigation.

Genetic Testing:

In some cases, genetic testing may be recommended, especially for individuals with a family history of ovarian or breast cancer. Genetic testing can identify mutations in specific genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, which are associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Transvaginal Ultrasound:

This specialized ultrasound involves the insertion of a probe into the vagina to obtain detailed images of the ovaries and nearby structures. It is sometimes used as a follow-up test when abnormalities are detected during a pelvic exam or to monitor certain ovarian conditions.

Exploratory Laparotomy or Laparoscopy: 

In some cases, if other tests are inconclusive, a surgical procedure called laparotomy (open surgery) or laparoscopy (minimally invasive surgery) may be performed. These procedures allow doctors to directly visualize the ovaries and surrounding tissues, and if necessary, take biopsies for further examination.

Tumor Markers: 

Besides CA-125, other tumor markers may be used in combination with other tests to aid in the diagnosis and management of ovarian cancer.

What Are The Ovarian Cancer Symptoms?

Ovarian cancer may progress silently in the abdomen, posing challenges for early detection due to a lack of initial symptoms. Signs of ovarian cancer:
  • Pelvic or abdominal discomfort, pain, or bloating.
  • Altered eating patterns, early satiety, and diminished appetite.
  • Unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding, especially beyond your regular menstrual cycle or post-menopause.
  • Bowel irregularities like diarrhea or constipation.
  • Abdominal enlargement.
  • Frequent urination.
If any of these symptoms of ovarian cancer signs manifest, seek prompt medical attention.

Ovarian Cancer Survival Rate

Survival rates for ovarian cancer differ depending on factors like the stage of diagnosis, the specific type of ovarian cancer, and an individual’s health. On average, the overall survival rate over five years is approximately 47%. Detecting the cancer early substantially enhances outcomes, with localized cases showing a higher survival rate compared to more advanced stages. It is essential for individuals to recognize symptoms, participate in regular screenings, and seek prompt diagnosis and treatment from healthcare professionals to improve the likelihood of survival.

If you have ovarian cancer, genetic counseling and testing are advised.

Genetic counseling and testing are crucial for individuals diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Through genetic testing, healthcare professionals can identify specific genetic mutations, like BRCA1 and BRCA2, which can impact treatment decisions and guide family members’ risk assessment. Counseling helps patients understand their genetic results and make informed choices about their healthcare and potential preventive measures.

Genetic testing to look for inherited mutations can be helpful in several ways 

Genetic testing to identify inherited mutations can provide valuable insights in several ways. Firstly, it helps determine the risk of developing certain hereditary conditions, such as breast or ovarian cancer. Secondly, it aids in making informed decisions about medical management and preventive measures for both the individual and their family members. Additionally, genetic testing can guide personalized treatment approaches, improving patient outcomes. Lastly, it offers emotional support and peace of mind by providing a clearer understanding of one’s health risks and potential hereditary implications.

Test Results for Gene or Protein Changes

Lab tests for gene or protein changes play a pivotal role in diagnosing and managing various medical conditions, including genetic disorders and certain types of cancers. These tests involve analyzing genetic material or specific proteins to identify any alterations or abnormalities that may be indicative of a particular disease.

Genetic tests focus on examining an individual’s DNA for mutations or changes in specific genes. These changes can be inherited from parents or occur spontaneously. By identifying such alterations, healthcare professionals can diagnose genetic disorders, predict the risk of certain diseases, and offer personalized treatment plans.

Protein-based lab tests, on the other hand, involve analyzing proteins present in blood, tissue, or other body fluids. Changes in protein levels or the presence of specific proteins can serve as valuable biomarkers for various diseases. For example, certain proteins may indicate inflammation, organ damage, or the presence of cancerous cells.

In the context of ovarian cancer, lab tests for gene changes may include analyzing genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2, which are associated with an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer. Protein-based tests, such as the CA-125 blood test, can monitor the levels of the CA-125 protein, which is often elevated in ovarian cancer cases.

The results of these lab tests help oncologists and healthcare providers make accurate diagnoses, determine the stage and aggressiveness of the disease, and tailor treatment plans to the individual patient. Additionally, genetic counseling is often provided to patients and their families to better understand the implications of these test results and make informed decisions regarding treatment options and preventive measures. Overall, lab tests for gene or protein changes significantly contribute to personalized medicine and improved patient outcomes in various medical conditions.

Bottom Line

If you experience symptoms of ovarian cancer in Sugar Land, consult a Gynecologist in Sugar Land for a thorough pelvic exam and further diagnostic tests. Don’t delay seeking expert advice and personalized care.