- Ovarian cancer is very serious, and often deadly, but screening is for high risk patients. Over 90% of women will survive their ovarian cancer if it is picked up in Stage 1. You should ONLY be screened for Ovarian Cancer if you have KNOWN risk factors.
- You should be screened for ovarian cancer if you are at high-risk for hereditary cancer syndrome. In that case, you may need genetic testing to show exactly what diseases you are really at risk of. Never having children, being infertile, having endometriosis, and never using birth control pills are additional risk factors. One important consideration is when to have repeat genetic testing, the tests are improving a lot.
- Generally, no one else should be screened for ovarian cancer, except if you have been adopted or do not really know your genetics. Specifically, there is a recommendation by USFSTF to not screen asymptomatic healthy people with no known risk.
- If you have soft symptoms of ovarian cancer, you should be tested for it, but this is no longer a ‘screening’. Screening specifically is done on healthy, asymptomatic, undiagnosed women.
- Since the study done in the UK (UKCTOCS) showed that we might find 1 ovarian cancer in 2500 healthy not-at risk women over the age of menopause, the risks to you of screening tests, overwhelmingly, make screening of the healthy not advisable.
- Only those at risk for ovarian cancer should be screening with ultrasound or blood marker testing like CA-125.
Call Women’s Health Practice if you would like to discuss your personal risks at an appointment.