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Finding the cancer early improves the chances that it can be treated with success, but only about 1 in 5 ovarian cancers are found at an early stage. About 9 out of 10 women treated for early ovarian cancer will live longer than 5 years after the cancer is found. It isn’t clear how best to find ovarian cancer in its earliest stage.

The best way to find ovarian cancer is to have regular women’s health exams and to see the doctor if you have symptoms.

What about screening for ovarian cancer?

Screening tests and exams are used to find a disease such as cancer in people who don’t have any symptoms. So far, no screening tests have been shown to lower the risk of dying from ovarian cancer, and so no tests are recommended.

Sometimes women with a very high risk of ovarian cancer because they have a gene change (mutation) that increases their risk are screened with ultrasound and with a certain blood test. But even for these women, the tests have not been shown to help lower deaths caused by ovarian cancer.

Last Medical Review: 08/08/2014
Last Revised: 02/03/2016