Screening involves an examination or testing to identify patients with cancer in its early stage (see Staging)
before they have symptoms. This is especially relevant to those women with a family history of ovarian cancer. It is particularly important to identify ovarian cancer in its early stages (more info) because treatment is most effective while the disease is confined to the ovaries.
Pelvic examination, particularly when there is persistent abdominal discomfort.
Although not routinely performed the following tests are recommended for those women with a family history of ovarian cancer:
These screening procedures are imperfect. There is a critical need for improved screening methods to identify women with early stage ovarian cancer. At Johns Hopkins we have a major research effort devoted to improvement of population screening tests. There is also a large National Cancer Institute-sponsored screening trial ongoing to test the efficacy of CA125 and TVS in screening for early ovarian cancers ( CancerNet's Questions and Answers About the PLCO Cancer
Article on screening trial and early diagnosis in CAP July 2002.