Screening and Prevention


Currently there is no standard effective screening tool that is adequately predictive or sensitive for early detection.

Pelvic examinations are effective for detecting obvious tumors present with a sensitivity of 67% for detecting all tumors; however, minimal or microscopic disease cannot be detected on physical examination.8 Pelvic examinations are noninvasive and well accepted, but it does not usually detect ovarian cancer until it is in advanced stage. Therefore, routine pelvic examinations will not improve earlier diagnosis or help decrease overall mortality.8

Serum cancer antigen-125 (CA-125) is the most extensively evaluated tumor marker for ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, the CA-125 is nonspecific and elevated levels can be associated with a number of other gynecologic and GI related diseases. CA-125 levels in a woman without ovarian cancer are static or tend to decrease over time, while levels associated with malignancy will continue to rise.9 Because CA-125 is a nonspecific marker, there is no standard recommendation for routine screening for prevention of ovarian cancer.

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