Find out what to expect when you visit your GP and find out more about ovarian cancer diagnosis.
Tests to expect
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.
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.
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.
Worried about the symptoms of ovarian cancer? We help you talk to your GP.
1. Know the symptoms of ovarian cancer
- 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.
2. Know what's normal for you
- changes in bowel habit (eg diarrhoea or constipation)
- extreme fatigue (feeling very tired)
- unexplained weight loss
3. Make an appointment with your GP
Tell your surgery you are worried about cancer and need to be seen as soon as possible.
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.
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 tests - 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
Download our 10 top tips leaflet or 10 top tips leaflet (Welsh) to take with you to your GP appointment.
Find out more
- What is ovarian cancer?
- I have just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer
- Read more about the CA125 blood test
- Take a look at an overview of the information and support we offer for you
The information on this page is approved by The Information Standard scheme to ensure that it provides accurate and high-quality information.
Last reviewed: March 2018
Next review: February 2021