Screening of Ovarian Cancer

Screening tests allow health care providers to test for cancers or other conditions that have not begun to show any signs or cause any symptoms. Currently, adequate screening tests have not been successfully developed to test for ovarian cancer. As a result, the expert recommendation is against screening women who do not have risk factors and who do not have symptoms. There is no defined recommendation for screening women who have genetic or other risk factors but who do not have symptoms.

The combination of vague early symptoms and a lack of successful screening programs, has led to the majority of cases, approximately 75%, of ovarian cancer to be diagnosed late in the course of disease. This is prompting researchers and healthcare providers to focus on recognizing early symptoms to possibly identify cases of ovarian cancer at earlier stages. This is important because the cure rate for cancer confined to the ovary is 80-90%. If disease spreads beyond the ovary the cure rate drops to 19-32%3.