- Ectopic pregnancies
|Click the icon to see an image of an ectopic pregnancy.|
- Meig syndrome (which involves a benign ovarian growth associated with fluid buildup in the abdomen and around the lungs)
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome following fertility treatments.
Once a growth is detected, the additional tests described below may help the doctor evaluate the risk for it being cancerous.
Transvaginal Ultrasound and Other Imaging Tests
Ultrasound. Ultrasound is a noninvasive diagnostic tool that can evaluate tumors and masses discovered during the rectovaginal exam:
- Typically, a probe that emits sound waves (ultrasound). is placed in the vagina. The sound waves bounce off tissues, organs, and masses in the pelvic cavity. These echoes are collected and converted into a picture of the area called a sonogram. Healthy tissue, fluid-filled cysts, and solid tumors produce different sound waves.
|Click the icon to see an image of transvaginal ultrasound.|
- The ultrasound probe may also be placed on abdominal walls above the ovaries (transabdominal ultrasound), but it does not provide as clear a picture of the ovaries. This technique may be needed to evaluate larger masses or cancer that has spread into the abdomen.
Other Imaging Techniques. Other imaging techniques are less common for the diagnosis or evaluation of suspected ovarian cancer but may help determine if cancer has spread to other parts of the body:
- Computed tomography (CT). Computed tomography records x-ray absorption rates of tissue and bone. These data are converted into clear images on a screen. CT scans help determine if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, abdominal organs, abdominal fluid, and the liver.
|Click the icon to see an image of a CT scan.|
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI creates multiple cross-sectional images of the pelvis and abdominal organs, which are assembled into three-dimensional images. An MRI is not usually used to diagnose ovarian cancer, but may help determine if cancer has spread to the brain or spinal cord.
Review Date: 11/04/2010
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.