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Find out what to expect when you visit your GP and find out more about ovarian cancer diagnosis.

Tests to expect 


Hilary's story

"If you’re worried that you may have ovarian cancer tell your GP when you see them. Sometimes it might not be something they’re thinking of straight away."

If you are experiencing the symptoms of ovarian cancer more than 12 times a month, your GP should do a CA125 blood test. Depending on the results of this blood test, they may recommend an ultrasound of your tummy and ovaries.

If the results of the tests suggest ovarian cancer might be a possibility, you will be referred to see a specialist called a gynaecological oncologist for further tests.

10 top tips for making the most of your GP appointment

1. Understand ovarian cancer symptoms

Some symptoms of ovarian cancer are particularly significant:
  • persistent bloating
  • pain in the pelvis or abdomen
  • difficulty eating, or feeling full quickly
  • needing to wee more urgently or often than usual

Take note of them, particularly if the symptoms are new for you, if they don’t go away and especially if they happen more than 12 times a month.

2. Act early

If you feel something is seriously wrong then act early. After all, you know your own body. Talking to your GP about symptoms might save your life.

Ovarian cancer diagnosis

3. Book an appointment

If you think you need an appointment, be assertive and don’t be put off.

4. Take your time

If you have a number of concerns and need more time, you can book a double appointment with your GP. Telephone appointments may also be available if you have a specific issue you would like to discuss.

5. Help your GP as much as possible

In advance of your appointment write down anything you want to discuss and if there is something specific like ovarian cancer that you are worried about, mention this to your GP.

6. Keep a diary

Keep a symptom diary if your symptoms persist. This can be very useful not only for you, but also when you see your GP.

7. Get support from friends and family

If friends or family notice you’re unwell or experiencing symptoms, act on their concerns and make an appointment with your GP. Don’t dismiss their worries. You can always bring a friend or family member to support you in your consultation.

8. Return to your GP

If your GP asks you to return if things haven’t improved, they really mean it.

9. Keep an eye on persistent symptoms

If tests and investigations are negative and your symptoms persist, go back and see your GP. Don’t be afraid of your GP – they are there to help.

10. Be aware - smear tests

A normal smear test only rules out cancer of the cervix and not other female cancers such as ovarian and uterine (womb) cancers. If you are worried about ovarian cancer then say so.

Download our 10 top tips leaflet to take with you to your GP appointment

This set of top tips was developed by a workshop group comprising people affected by ovarian cancer and GPs. The information on this page is approved by the Information Standard scheme to ensure that it provides accurate and high-quality information.


Last reviewed: April 2013
Next review: Currently under review