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Ovarian Cancer CAN be detected early Ovarian Cancer CAN be detected early

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Unread 01-12-2002, 01:08 AM
Ovarian Cancer CAN be detected early

Hello - I have seen several posts on the boards that say things like dr.s can't diagnose ovarian cancer early. This isn't true. It is just that most early symptoms are misdiagnosed as gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome or depression. Just a few simple tests can rule out ovarian cancer and they are very inexpensive. Asking for these tests if you dr. doesn't run them could save your life!

The following info is from the Nat'l Ovarian Cancer Coalition:

What are the symptoms?

· Pelvic or abdominal pain or discomfort;

· Vague, but persistent gastrointestinal upsets such as gas, nausea and indigestion;

· Frequency and/or urgency of urination in absence of an infection;

· Unexplained changes in bowel habits;

· Unexplained weight gain or weight loss, particularly weight gain in the abdominal region;

· Pelvic and/or abdominal swelling, bloating, and/or feeling of fullness;

· Pain during intercourse;

· Ongoing fatigue;

· Abnormal postmenopausal bleeding (this symptom is rare).

How to detect it...

What are some diagnostic tests that can be used to detect ovarian cancer?

No consistently reliable, accurate screening test to detect ovarian cancer exists. The Pap test does not detect ovarian cancer. The following tests are available and should be used:

Mandatory annual vaginal exam for women age 18 and above and annual rectovaginal exam for women age 35 and above. (Physician inserts fingers in the rectum and vagina simutaneously to feel for abnormal swelling and to detect tenderness.)

Transvaginal sonography for women, especially those at high risk. (An ultrasound performed with a small instrument place in the vagina.) Ask for a doplar (color) and a black and white songram. The doplar color can detect the rate of blood flow through a tumor and help the sonographer determine the type of cyst/tumor. Make sure your sonographer is certified.

Blood test to determine if the level of a tumor marker called CA-125 has increased in the blood for women at high risk. Its role in postmenopausal women is superior to that in premenopausal women. (This test is not definitive because some non-cancerous diseases of the ovaries also increase the CA-125 levels, and some ovarian cancers may not prduce enough CA-125 levels to cause a positive test.)
CA125 blood test (OncoLink)

If any of these tests are positive, consultation with a gynecological oncologist should be considered. X-ray studied and/or samples of fluid from the abdomen or tissue from the ovaries may be performed.

Hope this helps. robins
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Unread 01-12-2002, 01:11 AM

My old gyn did not listen to my symptoms and did attribute it to other things. No tests were ever run on my symptoms. I didn't know what tests to ask for, to rule out cancers etc. I figured my dr. knew what to look for and what tests to run. Pap smears do not tell you if you have ovarian cancer.

Thank God I moved towns and I went to a new gyn. The nurse practioner who saw me did ask for a simple sonogram to rule out the "nasty stuff" as she put it. She saved my life.

I had my hyster with a gyn/oncologist. Your survival rate for ovarian cancer significantly rises if you have your tumor debulking and surgery done by an oncologist/gyn instead of a reg. gyn.

Listen to your body. You are the only one who lives in it.

Unread 01-12-2002, 07:22 AM
Ovarian Cancer CAN be detected early

Great information Robin! I'm glad your nurse practitioner checked into things thouroughly to give you a better outcome. This was most informative to me as I have never looked into it. But, I think it's a good idea for all of us to know.

Thanks again!

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Unread 01-12-2002, 07:56 AM
Ovarian Cancer CAN be detected early

Thank you very much for your post. It will probably help a lot of women and might even
help to save a life. You are passing on the blessing that was given to you
Unread 01-12-2002, 08:49 AM
saved my life


I had zero symptoms, but a strong family history of ov ca, and because of the support of this website and others (JHUs pathology dept's site) I had a CA-125 and an ultrasound. CA-125 was elevated and the US showed nothing, the CAT showed nothing, the PET showed nothing, the MRI showed nothing, but the CA-125 kept creeping up (99, 120, 189).

This website convinced me that a TAH/BSO would not be the end of my sex life and that I'd get the hormone thing figured out sooner ot later. I had my operation Monday and after 3 separate pathology departments reviewed the materials, I did infact have a one-half CM tumor in one ovary! Finding ov ca at that stage is nearly unheard of! I will need close follow-up frr 5 years, but no chemo, no nothing.

It is less than a week since my operation and I am well. I am 43 with 3 small children and I am thankful to all my cyber-sisters who continually tell us to go to a gyn oncologist and stay on top of the diagnostic process.
Unread 01-12-2002, 10:04 AM
Thanks, Robin!

Hey, Robin!
Thanks for the wonderful info! So many of us put maybe too much faith in our gyns, forgetting that they, too are human and may not have all the answers. I didn't know such tests even existed. Your input may very well save the lives of others. What a blessing! Good job!
Unread 01-12-2002, 04:27 PM

I am glad that you guys found this helpful. The more we all know, the more we can help our friends. We can all be advocates for good healthcare and knowledge.

Take Care - RobinS

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