None of the current screening tools is as accurate as the ACS and other experts would like them to be, she explained. Any of the tests alone misses a significant number of cancers, and unnecessarily worries women who don't have cancer. Saslow said transvaginal ultrasound can be a good test, but it has to be done by an experienced sonographer, and there are no current guidelines to define how much experience is enough.
Additionally, Saslow said that no research has been done to prove that early detection saves lives.
Andersen said the researchers recommend that if you have any of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, and they're new-onset symptoms, that you should discuss them with your doctor. But, she added that, "even with this specific pattern of symptoms, most women probably don't have ovarian cancer, just as most women with a breast lump don't have breast cancer."
To read more about ovarian cancer detection, visit the American Cancer Society.
SOURCES: M. Robyn Andersen, Ph.D., associate member, Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Wash.; Debbie Saslow, Ph.D., director, breast and gynecologic cancer, American Cancer Society; June 23, 2008, Cancer online