About Ovarian Cancer  

Diagnosis & Treatment


This page explains the difficulties in diagnosing ovarian cancer, lists the stages of ovarian cancer and outlines the general treatment procedures.

Detection and Diagnosis
Women have become educated on early diagnosis procedures for breast and cervical cancers. Unlike these other cancers affecting women, there is no reliable screening test for ovarian cancer at present. Tumors are difficult to detect in the early stages because the ovaries are deep within the body. Clinical examination lacks the specificity and sensitivity to reliably identify ovarian cancer in its earliest stages. While the Pap text helps find cervical cancer early, it is not useful in finding ovarian cancer.

Currently, a biopsy is the only way to diagnose ovarian cancer; however a biopsy is not usually done in the early stages of symptoms. In addition, Ultrasound, Computed Tomography (CT Scan) and/or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) may be used to suggest a diagnosis; but are not used to making a diagnosis.

Experts recommend that women at high risk receive the CA125 blood test every 3 months and receive a transvaginal Ultrasound every 6 months starting at the age of 35. Consideration should be given to a pelvic sonogram as well. If a woman’s mother had ovarian cancer, her own screening should begin at 35 or at 5 to 10 years before the age her mother was when she contracted ovarian cancer, whichever is earliest.

When ovarian cancer is diagnosed, it is staged to indicate how far the disease has progressed. Cancers at different stages are treated differently.

Stages of Ovarian Cancer
  Cancer is contained within the ovary or ovaries  
  Cancer has spread to other organs in the pelvis, such as the bladder, rectum or uterus.  
  Cancer has spread to the lining of the abdomen of the lymph nodes  

Cancer has spread to distant organs, such as the liver or lungs


Cancer has returned following treatment


Almost 75% of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed in Stage III or beyond. The five year survival rate for Stage III is only 35% compared with 90% for patients diagnosed in Stage I.

Treatment Procedures

Treatment for ovarian cancer typically begins with surgery to remove the cancerous growth, followed by chemotherapy drugs. Many times a second-look surgery is performed to determine if there are any more cancer cells present. Radiation is rarely used for ovarian cancer, but my be necessary as part of the treatment.

Please return to our website for more information as we gather more of the latest data to share with you.

See information below for more information about the Low Risk Ovarian Cancer Study the Tracy Jo Wilson Ovarian Cancer Foundation is sponsoring in North Texas.


Tracy Jo Foundation is proud to partner with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston (MDACC) in the clinical study, "Low Risk Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer".  The function of this study is to find a way to detect ovarian cancer in the early stages.  TJWOCF has been involved with The Study for the last 7 years.  M.D. Anderson initiated the study to determine if the CA-125 blood test used in conjunction with an algorithm can be useful in diagnosing ovarian cancer.   The study was transferred from Baylor Sammons to U.T. Southwestern Hospital in Dallas.  UT Southwestern continues to  process and recruit participants for the study in North Texas.  TJWOCF is extremely pleased to be a part of this promising study and we are happy to be fulfilling Tracy Jo's dream of finding an early diagnostic tool!   For more information  about the study or to participate in the study, call us at 972-233-7591 or email us at info@tracyjofoundation.org