What Should I Know About Ovarian Cancer Screening?
Dr. Nilesh Chordiya
Cancer Surgeon Specialist in Mumbai
Ovarian cancer is a serious health concern that affects thousands of women worldwide each year. Early detection plays a crucial role in improving treatment outcomes and survival rates.
This article aims to provide an in-depth understanding of ovarian cancer screening, the available methods, their benefits and limitations, and guidelines for those considering screening.
Understanding Ovarian Cancer Screening Methods
The primary objective of ovarian cancer screening is early detection of the disease, which can lead to better treatment options and increased survival rates.
Screening aims to identify ovarian cancer in its initial stages when it is more manageable and easier to treat.
1. Transvaginal Ultrasound (TVUS)
Transvaginal ultrasound is a non-invasive imaging test that uses sound waves to visualize the ovaries and surrounding structures. A probe is inserted into the vagina to capture detailed images of the pelvic organs.
While TVUS can detect abnormalities such as ovarian cysts or tumors, it cannot definitively determine if they are cancerous.
As a standalone screening tool, TVUS has limitations in terms of accuracy and may result in false-positive or false-negative findings.
2. CA-125 Blood Test
The CA-125 blood test measures the level of a specific protein called cancer antigen 125, which is associated with ovarian cancer.
Elevated levels of CA-125 can indicate the presence of ovarian cancer; however, they can also be found in non-cancerous conditions such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and uterine fibroids.
Due to these limitations, the CA-125 test alone is not considered a reliable screening tool for ovarian cancer.
3. Combination Screening
To improve the accuracy of ovarian cancer screening, some healthcare providers may recommend combining TVUS and CA-125 testing.
This approach may increase the chances of detecting ovarian cancer in its early stages. However, it is essential to consider the potential benefits and risks associated with this combined screening method.
Also, Read- Can Ovarian Cancer Be Prevented
Who Should Consider Ovarian Cancer Screening?
Ovarian cancer screening is generally recommended for women with specific risk factors, such as a family history of ovarian or breast cancer, genetic mutations (e.g., BRCA1 or BRCA2), or a history of infertility or endometriosis.
It is crucial for women considering screening to consult with their healthcare provider to discuss their individual risk factors and determine if screening is appropriate for them.
Limitations and Considerations
A. False Positives and False Negatives
Both TVUS and CA-125 tests have limitations that can result in false-positive or false-negative results. False positives can lead to unnecessary anxiety and additional testing, while false negatives may provide false reassurance and delay diagnosis.
It is essential to understand these limitations when considering ovarian cancer screening.
B. Risk Reduction Strategies
In addition to screening, it is vital to focus on risk reduction strategies, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, discussing genetic counseling options, and considering prophylactic surgeries (e.g., salpingectomy or oophorectomy) for high-risk individuals.
Current Guidelines and Recommendations
The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) do not recommend routine ovarian cancer screening for women at average risk due to the limitations of current screening methods.
However, for women with a strong family history or genetic predisposition, it is essential to discuss personalized screening options with their healthcare provider.
Must Watch This Video-
Treatment for Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer screening plays a vital role in early detection and improved treatment outcomes.
While current screening methods have limitations, understanding the purpose, benefits, and considerations associated with each method can help women make informed decisions.
It is crucial to consult with an expert ovarian cancer surgeon to discuss individual risk factors and determine the most appropriate screening approach.
Dr. Nilesh is a renowned surgeon/ consultant practicing infinity media surge hospital, and Navkaar cancer clinic Mumbai and he is also visiting consultant at various hospitals in Mumbai, Thane, Dombivali, Kalyan, Navi Mumbai etc. With over 10+years of experience, he is highly trained and specialized in performing cancer surgery procedures from simplest to the most complicated surgeries.
In a health alert, Dr. Nilesh Chordia provides valuable tips to minimize esophageal cancer risk. Take the first step towards a healthier you—Book now.
Elevate your understanding of gynecological cancer screening with insights from Dr. Nilesh Chordia, a trusted Surgical Oncologist in Mumbai.
Colorectal cancer occurs in roughly 5 percent of people with a normal risk of having the disease. There is no known risk of passing on genetic alterations that cause colon cancer.