Ovarian Cancer Information & Resources
- Thomas Rutherford, Ph.D., M.D., Gynecologic Oncologist
Gynecologic Oncology: Yale Obstetrics and Gynecology
Yale Physicians' Building
800 Howard Avenue, Third floor
New Haven, CT 06519 Call (203) 785-4176
- Yale Cancer Center
(203) 785- 4191
- Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale
(203) 688-2000 / 1 888 -700-6573
- National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute
- The National Women’s Health Information Center
Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
HRT after menopause may have a slightly increased risk of developing this disease.
How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?
Many times women with ovarian cancer have no symptoms or just mild symptoms until the disease is in an advanced stage. Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose and is often diagnosed after the disease is advanced. Some diagnostic exams and tests that may be useful are:
- Pelvic exam — includes feeling the uterus, vagina, ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder and rectum to find any abnormality in their shape or size.
- Ultrasound — uses high-frequency sound waves. These waves are aimed at the ovaries and produce a pattern of echoes to create a picture (sonogram). Healthy tissues, fluid-filled cysts and tumors look different on this picture.
- CA-125 assay — a blood test used to measure the level of CA-125, a tumor marker that is often found in higher-than-normal amounts in the blood of women with ovarian cancer as well as other cancers.
- Lower Gastrointestinal series or barium enema — a series of X-rays of the colon and rectum. The pictures are taken after the patient is given an enema with a white, chalky solution containing barium. The barium outlines the colon and rectum making tumors or other abnormal areas easier to see.
- Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) scan — a series of detailed pictures of the organs inside the body created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine.
- Biopsy — the removal of tissue for examination under a microscope. A definitive diagnosis of ovarian cancer requires surgery. The initial surgery has two purposes.
- First, to remove any cancer that exists (or as much as possible), including removing the ovaries and the uterus; and second, to sample tissues and surrounding lymph nodes to determine where the tumor has spread and the stage of the disease. The best prognosis for survival occurs when all the cancer can be removed.
What are the treatment options for ovarian cancer?
After diagnosis, a doctor will suggest one or more options for treatment. The type of treatment depends on the type of cancer and the stage of the disease. If surgery has not been performed yet, the exact stage may not be known. The main treatments for ovarian cancer are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation or a combination of the three.
*Prophylactic oophorectomy (oh-oaf-uh-REK-tuh-me) significantly reduces your odds of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer if you're at high risk. Weigh the pros and cons of this cancer prevention option.
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