Help - what tests diagnose ovarian cancer?

I've had severe abdominal distension for 15 months, plus constipation, pelvic pains. Prior to that I had a flat, toned stomach. It came on unexpectedly. My gp suggested ibs.

In last 9 months, I've developed bad wind and need to pee (urgently) and often get breathless as my tummy is so hard and swollen. I also find it hard to eat as get full feeling. My waist has gone from 10 to 14/16.

Now my periods have reduced from 7 days to 1 day. I had a pelvic scan which showed 3cm fibroid. They were not looking for cancer though.

I also developed a chesty cough at night. am now very concerned I have ovarian cancer. I am 35, have no children.

What is the most reliable test to check for ova cancer? Is it an abdominal CT scan? Please can anyone comment & give suggestions. I know I'm going to have to push my Gp get test done.

17 Replies

  • Thanks very much Ally. I will ask my GP today. Its difficult as I'm being treated for something called Lupus and Addisons disease, so my GP always thinks everything is to do with that. But, I must admit, I'm a little worried. People keep telling me that I look 4/5 months pregnant and, the bloating doesn't come and go. Its there all the time. The pelvic pains are getting quite uncomfortable. I did have a transvaginal ultra sound in April to see what was happening with my uterus lining, because my periods stopped. Nothing was said about my ovaries other than I didn't have pos. I assumed that everything in that area was okay. Its just got worse though. Anyway, hope you are feeling ok xx

  • Hi Fuzzrudd, If I were you I would chase the whole thing up and get answers. Addisons disease could be your problem but if bloating is there all the time, get it checked out and sorted.

  • Hi Suzuki - I have actually adrenal insufficiency and take hydrocortisone for this 3 x each day (secondary addisons). I had no idea this could be linked to the bloating! The problem is that the bloating is there all the time though? I look pregnant and sometimes I feel that it affects my breathing. Also, I can't hold my wee any more and get stomach / pelvic pains. Do you have addisons? x

  • No I dont actually but it could be the cortisone that is causing the bloating, look best thing is to get an appt with your doc, tell him you are not happy and he has a duty of care to ensure all avenues are explored. I would be concerned that it affects your breathing and write down all you need to ask before your appointment thats the best way,

  • Hi there

    You should get yourself checked out. There are many ways - a CA125 blood test (although it may not work for everyone) / CT Scan / Ultra Sound / Transviginal Ultra Sound. I had CA125/ Ultra Sound and Transviginal Ultra Sound. However before I got that my Doctor took one look at me , checked my swollen extended stomach and sent me to A&E (which he called when I was on my way) with a letter voicing his concerns. He saved my life there was absolutely no messing around. Push your GP of you are worried.

  • Thanks Trish, really appreciate that. How are you feeling now? I hope that you are well on road to recovery xx

  • Hi Fuzzyrudd

    I am doing great. I had first round chemo in 2011 and had a reoccurrence in 2013. I'm just finished my second line treatment which went really well. I'm staying on Avastin for the next two years. I was 40 when I was diagnosed, I too have no children. Keep pushing your GP until you are happy that everything has been done to rule out Ovarian Cancer. I have been lucky with my GP but others have had to put up a bit of a fight. Remember they are not specialist but General Practitioners. Best of luck and do let us all know how you get on. x Trish

  • Hi TrishLey, r

    Am reading your post and very interested in you having Avastin. Am starting this mid Oct with Gemzar, this will be my third treatment but first time with Avastin. Just wondering what were your side effects if any and obviously it has gone well for you. Staying on Avastin for the next two years, what does that mean as in drip or tablet form. I agree with you about pushing the doctors for notice. I would get a letter from my gp and present at a and e . I know the 125 isnt 100 accurate it can give negative and positive answers but a lot depends on way blood is stored in labs. Ct scan and ca 125 together is the way to go.

  • Hi Suzuki.

    I've had no side effects at all from Avastin (so far so good). It can give headaches and high blood pressure but I seem to have avoided them so far. I am now on Avastin every three weeks in drip form (I have a cath port that is staying in) I really cannot recommend having cath port enough. So its a trip to the hospital urine sample, blood pressure check, quick chat with nurse and them Avastin for half an hour and then home. All in all total 2 hours.

  • That is good, thanks for that, I really appreciate it, have heard about some one put on avastin as she wanted to stop her chemo during the summer and she got bad side effects. On the other hand, I know some one else who has like yourself done very well on Avastin after a very quick recurrence and she is flying it now. So hoping for the best. I have blood pressure as well but its under control with medication for years.

  • Pleased to hear that you are keeping well Trish - I will push my GP x x

  • Hi. Sorry you are concerned about OC - but a simple blood test by your GP for CA125 reading may show a problem, But remember a raised CA reading may not be OC. Sometimes, CT scass and./or ultrasounds will show a pelvic mass, but only a biopsy or investigation can confirm OC. tell your GP your concerns and he or she will respond. Hope health issues will be resolved.

  • has anyone heard that ovarian cancer does not always show on scans? have read true stories of this in magazines and from here (?)or another forum abdomen is swollen and its not down to my diet as I eat very little but is reason for quite excessive weight gain over years but last year lost weight fro no reason.dr says IBS but people my age don't get IBS. most recently have centre chest/abdo pains which stop me in my tracks and pelvic last CA 125 result was 39.could be lupus =drs dismissing all my symptoms.pain spread from protruding ribs to collar bone and brow bone and have thyroid symptoms too-neck is so tight..

  • Hi there

    The only certain way of diagnosing ovarian cancer is for the mass of there is one to be removed and analysed by a pathologist. Imaging I.e. ultrasounds , CT scans , MRI scans , blood tests will give the doctors a very good idea about what I going on and of course if there are multiple tumours then that result would speak for itself.

    I had a abdominal xay an ultrasound , a blood test , a gynae exam and was told that I probably had a very large advanced cancer. The following day I had an MRI scan to be told that it was just a very large cyst with fibroid behind it. Months later , after it was removed , it turns out to be a borderline cancer.

    So , sorry , there is no single test that is 100 per cent accurate.

    Good luck xxx

  • HI, I see that Charlie12 has answered you anyway, but to confirm what she (he) said, tests are various from blood tests for CA125, CT scans, MRI, biopsy - and each of them will show different results. It is difficult to diagnose CA but hopefully you are OK but persist with Drs and your symptoms to find cause & cure.

  • thank you both.seeing dr on Monday.hopefully she will listen if not going to A&E

  • saw dr this morning(not my own)and she said my throat was very sore and inflamed-cos of antibiotics I had been prescribed. about pelvic pain she said it was an injury following a fall(if I heard her right) and to take I said I am already taking paracetemol and its made no difference.she did say my glands were up againwhen I gto home -in floods of tears again.told her i ts my htyroid.she said its not.i cant cope with this anymore.just read a notehr magazine story-woman whose stomach was swelling an dgetting bigger and bigger.turns out to be a cyst pushing her organs up-tore it out as another eg to show my gp.then htye may believe .

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