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Q.

How do doctors diagnose ovarian cysts and tumors?

Related Topics: Tumor, Cyst, Ovary
 

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

8,020 Answers
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A.

The obstetrician/gynecologist or your regular doctor may feel a lump while doing a routine pelvic exam. Most ovarian growths are benign. But a small number can be cancerous. That’s why it’s important to have any growths checked. Postmenopausal women in particular should get examined. That’s because they face a higher risk of ovarian cancer.

Tests that look for ovarian cysts or tumors include:

  • Ultrasound. This test uses sound waves to create an image of the ovaries. The image helps the doctor determine the size and location of the cyst or tumor.
  • Other imaging tests. Computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET) are highly detailed imaging scans. The doctor can use them to find ovarian tumors and see whether and how far they have spread.
  • Hormone levels. The doctor may take a blood test to check levels of several hormones. These include luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol, and testosterone.
  • Laparoscopy. This is a surgical procedure. It’s also used to treat ovarian cysts. It uses a thin, light-tipped device inserted into your abdomen. During this surgery, the surgeon can find cysts or tumors and may remove a small piece of tissue (biopsy) to test for cancer.
  • CA-125. If the doctor thinks the growth may be cancerous, he might take a blood test to look for a protein called CA-125. Levels of this protein tend to be higher in some -- but not all -- women with ovarian cancer. This test is mainly used in women over age 35, who are at slightly higher risk for ovarian cancer.

If the diagnosis is ovarian cancer, the doctor will use the diagnostic test results to determine whether the cancer has spread outside of the ovaries. If so, the doctor will also use the results to determine how far it has spread. This diagnostic procedure is called staging. This helps the doctor plan your treatment.

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

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Archived: March 20, 2014

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Read the Original Article: Ovarian Cysts and Tumors