Should I be screened if I have a low risk for ovarian cancer?

If you have a low risk for ovarian cancer, your doctor likely will recommend that you not be screened for the disease. However, this recommendation does not apply to those women deemed to be at high risk for ovarian cancer.

In 1999, a program was created for women at increased risk for ovarian cancer by combining genetics, gynecologic oncology, diagnostic imaging, psychology and molecular biology to optimize women’s health care. Women at risk include those with a personal history of breast, ovarian, colon cancer or a family history of these and other malignancies, all of which may have a genetic basis for inherited cancer.

The past and present challenge of screening for ovarian cancer is that we need tools that detect early rather than advanced stage disease; that is, before the disease is lethal. In the high-risk population, women at risk are identified before they develop cancer and offer prevention strategies. Unfortunately, to date no clinically validated blood test(s) or imaging studies exist that allow healthcare providers to detect early stage ovarian cancer.

The recommendation is not to screen low-risk women for ovarian cancer due to the limitations of our current medical technology. Once the medical community has clinically validated tests that allow the detection of early rather than late-stage ovarian cancer, screening will have value and save women’s lives.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.