There is currently no reliable screening test for ovarian cancer.
Unfortunately, most women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed with advanced-stage disease (Stage III).
This is because the symptoms of ovarian cancer (particularly in the early stages) often are not acute or intense, and present vaguely. In most cases, ovarian cancer is not detected during routine pelvic exams, unless the doctor notes that the ovary is enlarged.
The sooner ovarian cancer is found and treated, the better a woman's chance for recovery. It is important to know that early stage symptoms are not silent - so women should be extra alert and watch out for early symptoms.
• Upset stomach or heartburn
• Back pain
• Pain during sex
• Menstrual changes
A smear test does not detect ovarian cancer. It screens for cervical cancer.