The PAP smear does NOT detect ovarian cancer.
Pay attention to your body and if you notice signs or symptoms which could be associated with ovarian cancer, ask your doctor if you should have a test, such as a rectovaginal pelvic exam, a transvaginal ultrasound, or a blood test for CA-125 (a protein in the blood produced by ovarian cancer cells, which is elevated in many women with ovarian cancer).
These tests may help find or rule out ovarian cancer. There is no finite test for diagnosing ovarian cancer.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
•Vaginal bleeding (particularly if you are past menopause) or abnormal discharge from the vagina
•Pain or pressure in the pelvic or abdominal area (the area below your stomach and in between your hip bones.)
•Swollen or bloated abdomen
•Feeling full quickly while eating.
•A change in your bathroom habits, such as having to pass urine very badly or very often, constipation, or diarrhea.
There is no way to prevent ovarian cancer; however, the following may help reduce your chances of getting ovarian cancer:
Factors that may decrease chances of getting ovarian cancer:
- Having used birth control pills for more than five years.
- Having had a tubal ligation (getting your tubes tied), both ovaries removed, orhysterectomy (an operation in which the uterus, and sometimes the cervix, is removed).
- Having given birth
Factors that may increase your chances of getting ovarian cancer:
- Personal or family history of cancer (especially ovarian or breast cancer)
- Testing positive for either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, which increases the risk of ovarian and breast cancer
- Over age 55
- No pregnancies
- Menopausal hormone replacement therapy