Ovarian cancer is a medical condition wherein cancerous or malignant cells are traced in the female’s ovaries. The tumour mainly arises from the epithelial tissues (cells lining the ovary), including primary peritoneal, fallopian tube, and epithelial ovarian.

Besides, there are certain less common types of ovarian cancer originating from the ovary itself, including sex cord stromal tumours and germ cell tumours.2

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

The common ovarian cancer symptoms include:

  • Abdominal swelling/ bloating
  • Weight loss
  • Frequently feeling full while eating
  • Discomfort in or around the pelvis area
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation or other changes in bowel conduct

Is There Screening For Ovarian Cancer?

Yes, various studies and research reports have detailed ovarian cancer screening guidelines to detect the condition at an early stage. Two of the common screening clinical tests that are suggested by the doctors are:

Transvaginal Ultrasound: It helps in observing the reproductive organs of a woman, including the cervix, uterus, and ovaries. Transvaginal signifies through or across the vagina. During this test, an ultrasound probe is placed inside the patient’s vagina. Transvaginal ultrasound test provides a better image of the ovaries to identify cancer or a cyst on the ovary.

Even though, there are no clear evidences indicating that the test can identify cancer at an early stage and save lives, various studies have corroborated that the test has indeed diagnosed the disease at the earliest stage.

CA-125 Blood Test: This test, in particular, is considered as a tumour-marker for the examination of ovarian cancer. A tumour-marker is basically a chemical emitted by the cancer cells, which circulates in the affected person’s bloodstream. So, women suffering from ovarian cancer are likely to have higher CA125 levels in their blood compared to women who are not affected with the disease. However, CA125 levels, at times, are also studied to be raised by non-cancerous reasons, and so, the test is not 100% reliable.

Hence, given the shortcomings of the ovarian cancer screening, it is recommended for women with a family history of ovarian cancer to have an annual pelvic examination by the gynaecologist as a measure of preventive healthcare.