Diagnosing ovarian cancer

Tests your GP might recommend

If your doctor is concerned about your symptoms he or she will want to gather more information about what is going on. This might include asking your permission to do an internal examination.

If you are having symptoms more than 12 times a month your GP should do a CA125 blood test. Depending upon the results of the CA125 blood test they may order a scan of your tummy and ovaries. One is an internal scan, but it’s quick and easy.

If you would like further information download our CA125 or ultrasound fact sheets, or for a printed copy email us or call us on 020 7923 5475 and we will send a copy out to you.

If the results of an internal examination and/or CA125 and ultrasound tests suggest that ovarian cancer might be a possibility, you will be referred to see a specialist called a gynaecological oncologist for further tests.

If they do not think ovarian cancer is a likely cause they may ask you to return if your symptoms do not clear over a period of time, or do tests to investigate alternative causes of your symptoms.


Hospital tests

At the hospital you might be offered the following tests:

  • Further blood tests
  • A CT scan
  • Biopsy – a thin needle is inserted into the abdomen and a small tissue sample collected
  • Abdominal fluid aspiration - where a needle is inserted into the abdomen to withdraw fluid which is then checked
  • A laparoscopy - key hole surgery to investigate the abdominal cavity


Fact sheet reference list.


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Last reviewed: Apr 2013

Next review: Apr 2014