Ovarian and Endometrial Cancer Screening
Ovarian cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women with approximately 6,000 cancers diagnosed every year in the UK. Traditionally the survival rate of women with ovarian cancer is very poor with around 4,500 women dying annually. Women diagnosed in the early stages have the highest chance of being cured.
What is ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer is the abnormal growth and division of cells in the ovary. The tumour can invade local areas and spread to other areas of the abdomen.
Who is at risk?
Those with a family history of ovarian cancer and also those with a family history of some other cancers such as breast, bowel and endometrial.
How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?
Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose because the ovaries are an inaccessible organ hidden deep within the pelvis and because there are no symptoms until the later stage. At the later stage symptoms include abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea or pain during intercourse.
Screening for ovarian cancer
There are two ways of looking for ovarian cancer:
- Blood test
Whilst neither of these tests alone or together are completely reliable, they can at least go some way to alleviating worry regarding problems with the ovaries, especially if repeated checks are performed for comparison (serial testing).
What happens if an abnormality is found?
The findings will be explained to you in your report. This report can be discussed with your GP for further management advice.
Who should have ovarian cancer screening?
- Women with family history of ovarian cancer and or related cancers such as breast, bowel and endometrial cancer.
- As there is increasing awareness of ovarian cancer, many women simply wish to have the reassurance of having their ovaries checked, especially if they have a friend who has developed the disease.
CA125 and ROMA (Risk of Ovarian Malignancy Algorithm)
CA125 is, to date, the best known test for ovarian cancer diagnosis, and is the serum marker most widely used to monitor therapeutic response and to detect disease, or disease recurrence, for epithelial ovarian cancer. Its recognised limitations have prompted the need to develop biomarkers with better sensitivity for early stage diagnosis, with the ability to differentiate women with ovarian cancer from those with benign ovarian conditions.
Gynaecological Scan: £100
CA125 Blood Test: £90