Pap Test: Can it Detect Ovarian Cancer?

NO. A Pap test can’t reliably detect ovarian cancer.

A Pap test is a procedure that involves collecting cells from your cervix and examining them under a microscope. A Pap test can detect cervical cancer and changes in your cervical cells that may increase your risk of cervical cancer in the future.

There is no standard or routine screening test for ovarian cancer. Researchers haven’t yet found a screening tool that’s sensitive enough to detect ovarian cancer in its early stages and specific enough to distinguish ovarian cancer from other, noncancerous conditions. Doctors don’t recommend routine screening for women with an average risk of ovarian cancer.

Whether women with a high risk of ovarian cancer may benefit from screening is a point of debate. Experts don’t agree on exactly what to do for screening, when to do it or if it should be done at all.

If you’re concerned about your risk of ovarian cancer, discuss it with your doctor.

Source: Mayo Clinic Patient Care & Health Information Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, M.D.

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Pap Smears

Many women in the U.S. get this test annually, which examines cervical cells for abnormalities that may lead to cervical cancer. But it’s unnecessary, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Cancer Society.

If you’re between age 30 and 65, get a Pap test every three years or every five if you have a human papilloma virus at the same time with negative results. You can stop after age 65 if you’ve had three normal Pap tests in a row or you no longer have a cervix.

Source: Consumer Reports on Health October 2017

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