There are some women who discovered that they have a cyst on the ovary by accident during a routine pelvic exam. Lucky for them! It does not always occur in all cases that telltale signs and symptoms for cysts on ovaries appear. Some women only find out that they have ovarian cysts when the condition has already progressed, or worse, when it's already too late. It is because of this that further testing is performed for cysts on ovaries to determine whether or not they are cancerous. Here are some of the most common procedures used to look for cysts on ovaries.
Doctors usually rely on ultrasound, MRIs, CT, and PET scans to visualize the cyst, the ovary, and its surrounding organs. The ultrasound, which creates an image using sound waves, can determine the size and the location of the cyst. The other three (MRI, CT, and PET scan) can give a more detailed image for cysts on ovaries and are used to determine if it has spread, and if it has, how far it has gone.
Hormonal levels are also checked for cysts on ovaries. The hormones that are usually included in this testing are the estradiol, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and testosterone. This is a very non-invasive method to look for cysts on ovaries that's preferred by both patients and doctors alike.
Pregnancy testing is also done to search for cysts on ovaries. A positive result would probably indicate that it is a corpus luteum cyst which has developed from a ruptured follicle when the egg was released from the ovary. It is also necessary because the treatment approach for cysts on ovaries while a woman is pregnant is different from the treatment given to non-pregnant women.
Serum CA-125 Assay
This is a blood test for cysts on ovaries that will check for the protein levels of CA-125, a cancer antigen. This is used to assess the possibility of ovarian cancer and also to determine if a cyst on the ovary is cancerous or not. But still, this test is not so reliable since there are other cases that would cause CA-125 to be elevated like in endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and pelvic inflammatory disease. Blood levels of CA-125 can also elevate in benign cysts.
Doctors sometimes use laparoscopic surgery for cysts on ovaries to take a small sample of the cyst for biopsy. This will positively determine whether the cyst is cancerous or not. The doctor will also be able to directly visualize the cyst and its surrounding organs and be able to judge whether to take out the cyst or the entire ovary right then and there.
By performing these tests and procedures for cysts on ovaries, your doctor will be able to properly diagnose the cyst and learn its size, shape, composition, and whether or not it’s cancerous. This would also greatly help in appropriately managing and treating the cyst, and ultimately, give you the peace of mind that you need.
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