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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

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

Worried about the symptoms of ovarian cancer? We help you talk to your GP.

1. Know the symptoms of ovarian cancer

Symptoms include:
  • persistent bloating
  • feeling full quickly and/or loss of appetite
  • pelvic or abdominal pain (that's your tummy and below)
  • needing to wee more urgently or often than usual

Go to your GP if you have any of these symptoms and they are new for you, don’t go away or happen more than 12 times a month.

Symptoms leaflets

2. Know what's normal for you

There can also be other symptoms:
  • changes in bowel habit (eg diarrhoea or constipation) 
  • extreme fatigue (feeling very tired)
  • unexplained weight loss
Act early if you feel something is wrong. You know your body best. 

3. Make an appointment with your GP

Tell your surgery you are worried about cancer and need to be seen as soon as possible.

4. Keep a symptoms diary

Keep a symptoms diary to track your symptoms. This can be  very useful not only for you but also for your GP. Download Target Ovarian Cancer's symptoms diary or order it by calling 020 7923 5475.

5. Talk to your GP about your concerns

You can book a double appointment with your GP if you need time to discuss more than one concern. You may also be able to book a telephone appointment with a GP for advice if it is difficult to get to the surgery in person.

6. Think about your family history

Think about whether anyone in your family has had ovarian or breast cancer, on either your mother's or father's side. If you do have a family history of ovarian and/or breast cancer, make sure you tell your GP. 

Woman talking to her GP about symptoms

7. Give your GP as much information as possible

Write down anything you want to discuss with the GP or any specific concerns you have and take this with you to your appointment. Tell your GP that you're worried about ovarian cancer. They will be glad you've shared your concerns. 

8. Be aware - smear tests don't detect ovarian cancer

Cervical screening tests - known as smear testes - do not detect ovarian cancer. All new symptoms should be discussed with your GP. 

9. Be persistent with your GP

Keep going back to your GP if your symptoms don't improve even if any tests and investigations are negative. You can always take a friend or family member to support you at your follow-up appointments.

10. Find out more about ovarian cancer

For more information on symptoms and the tests your GP should do, or if you are worried about ovarian cancer, call our Support Line for confidential information, support and signposting.

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

 

The information on this page is approved by The Information Standard scheme to ensure that it provides accurate and high-quality information.

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Last reviewed: March 2018
Next review: February 2021