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Understanding Ovarian Cancer Diagnostic Testing

Ovarian cancer remains one of the deadliest women’s cancers in Australia. Early detection is crucial for improving survival rates. Here at the Lions Medical Research Foundation, we’re committed to funding research that advances ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatment.

This blog aims to empower you with knowledge about ovarian cancer diagnostic testing.

The Challenge of Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis

Unlike some other cancers, ovarian cancer often presents with vague symptoms like bloating, pelvic pain, and fatigue. These symptoms can be easily mistaken for other conditions, making early detection difficult. There is currently no reliable screening test for ovarian cancer like a mammogram for breast cancer.

Diagnostic Tests for Ovarian Cancer

While there isn’t a single definitive test, a combination of approaches can help doctors diagnose ovarian cancer. Here’s a breakdown of some common tests:

  • Pelvic Examination: A physical exam of the pelvic organs can detect abnormalities in the ovaries.
  • Imaging Tests: Ultrasound and CT scans can reveal masses or cysts on the ovaries.
  • Blood Tests: The CA-125 blood test measures a protein that can be elevated in some ovarian cancers, but it’s not a definitive test.

The Role of Biopsy

If a mass is detected, a tissue sample (biopsy) is usually required to confirm a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. This can involve laparoscopy (keyhole surgery) or a laparotomy (open surgery).

Emerging Technologies

Researchers are constantly exploring new and improved diagnostic methods for ovarian cancer. Some promising areas include:

  • Blood tests that detect multiple cancer markers: These tests may offer greater accuracy than the CA-125 test alone.
  • Liquid biopsies: This minimally invasive technique analyses tumour fragments circulating in the bloodstream.
  • Imaging advancements: Improved imaging techniques may help differentiate between cancerous and benign tumours.

The Importance of Research

The Lions Medical Research Foundation is dedicated to supporting research that advances ovarian cancer diagnosis. By funding innovative research projects, we hope to one day have a reliable screening test for ovarian cancer, leading to earlier detection and improved outcomes for women.

What You Can Do

If you experience persistent pelvic symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor. Early diagnosis is key in the fight against ovarian cancer. You can also support the vital work of the Lions Medical Research Foundation by donating or participating in fundraising activities. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of women affected by ovarian cancer.

Stay informed. Get checked. Support research. Let’s work together to crack the code on ovarian cancer.

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