Screening for ovarian cancer

Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 1983 Dec;10(3):621-43.


This chapter has stressed the urgent need for a screening test for the early detection of ovarian cancer. Real-time, mechanical sector ultrasonography is non-invasive, rapid, painless and has no harmful effects. It can be used to determine ovarian morphology and measure ovarian volume quickly in 99.4 per cent of post-menopausal women. Used correctly, with a precise knowledge of the pelvic anatomy and with proper training in methodology, the risk of false positive diagnoses of ovarian enlargement is small. The incidence of ovarian abnormality diagnosed by ultrasound in this series was 3 per cent. The ovarian neoplasms included clear-cell carcinoma, and serous and mucinous cystadenomas. However, ultrasound appearances of ovarian neoplasms bore little, if any, correlation with the histological diagnosis. Thus, we believe that real-time mechanical sector ultrasonography is reliable in the detection of ovarian neoplasms but the diagnosis can be made only by histological examination. The potential of this technique as a screening test for the early detection of ovarian cancer warrants further evaluation.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cystadenoma / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Cysts / diagnosis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Ovary / anatomy & histology
  • Time Factors
  • Ultrasonography*