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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. A small sample of blood will be taken from your arm and sent to a lab where they will measure the level of a protein called CA125 in your sample. 

Read more about the CA125 blood test 

Depending on the results of this blood test, they may recommend an ultrasound of your tummy and ovaries. An ultrasound scan creates a picture of the tissues and organs inside your body. 

Read more about ultrasound scans 

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

Visit your GP, 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 better than anyone. You GP is there to help you. 

Ovarian cancer diagnosis

3. Listen to family and friends 

If friends or family members notice you're unwell, act on their concerns and make an appointment with your GP. You can always take a friend or family member to support you at your appointment. 

4. Keep a diary

Keep a diary to track your symptoms. This can be useful to you and your GP to monitor if symptoms are getting worse. Download Target Ovarian Cancer's symptoms diary here.  

5. Worried about cancer? 

Tell your surgery you are worried about cancer and need to be seen within a week. 

6. Worried about the appointment? 

You can book a double appointment with your GP if you need time to discuss more than one concern. You can also book a telephone appointment if it's difficult to get to the surgery in person. 

7. Family history?

Think about whether anyone in your family has had ovarian or breast cancer, on either your mothers of fathers side. If you do have a family history, make sure you tell your GP. 

8. Help your GP

Write down everything you want to discuss with the GP and any specific concerns you may have and take it with you. Tell them you're worried about ovarian cancer. They will be glad you've shared your concern. 

9. Return to your GP 

Go back to see your GP if your symptoms don't improve within one month, even if your tests are negative. 

10. Be aware - smear tests

Smear tests screen for cervical abnormalities/changes only and will not help detect ovarian cancer. If you are worried about symptoms of ovarian cancer you need to visit your GP.

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

Download our 10 top tips leaflet in Welsh


Find out more


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: February 2016
Next review: February 2018