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September 2009 Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource Highlights Ovarian Cancer, Salt and Breaking a Sweat
Date:9/16/2009

daily for weeks or months on end. Symptomatic women who have been treated for other health conditions and have not improved should schedule a follow-up visit with their doctor or seek a second opinion.

Myth: Pap tests can detect ovarian cancer.

Fact: Pap tests, also called Pap smears, are designed to detect cervical cancer, not ovarian cancer. Other exams and tests can help detect ovarian cancer but none are helpful for routine screening.

When ovarian cancer is suspected, a doctor will likely perform a pelvic exam to check for masses or growths on the ovaries. Other diagnostic tests include a CA 125 blood test and a transvaginal ultrasound. The protein CA 125 often is elevated in women with ovarian cancer. A transvaginal ultrasound is used to produce detailed images of the ovaries and other reproductive organs.

Myth: Most women with ovarian cancer have a family history of the disease.

Fact: Only 10 to 15 percent of ovarian cancers are inherited. The most important risk factor for ovarian cancer is the presence of inherited mutations in breast cancer genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2. Other risk factors are personal or family history of breast cancer, obesity, and a woman's age. Most patients with ovarian cancer are postmenopausal.

Myth: Women who have had a hysterectomy can't get ovarian cancer.

Fact: During a hysterectomy, a surgeon removes the uterus and usually the cervix. In some cases, the fallopian tubes and ovaries are removed. If one or both ovaries are left intact, ovarian cancer is possible. There's a very small chance of the disease, even when the ovaries are removed.

Myth: Ovarian cancer is always deadly.

Fact: Ovarian cancer is a serious illness, but it's not always deadly. An estimated 21,550 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009, and 14,600 will die from the diseas
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SOURCE Mayo Clinic
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