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Pap smear: Can it detect ovarian cancer?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ovarian-cancer/AN01810
- With Mayo Clinic gynecologist and obstetrician
Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D.read biographyclose window
Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D.Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D.
Dr. Mary Gallenberg is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine and medical oncology.
An Antigo, Wis., native, Dr. Gallenberg is a consultant in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and an assistant professor at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Gallenberg has been with Mayo Clinic since 1990. She was on the Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource editorial board and has been honored for excellence in teaching. She also won a Mayo Clinic Excellence Through Teamwork award.
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Pap smear: Can it detect ovarian cancer?
Can ovarian cancer be detected by a Pap smear?
from Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D.
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|Female reproductive system|
No. A Pap smear can't reliably detect ovarian cancer.
A Pap smear is a procedure that collects cells from your cervix. A Pap smear can detect cervical cancer and changes in your cervical cells that may increase your risk of cervical cancer in the future.
Very rarely, ovarian cancer cells can be detected during a Pap smear. If the ovarian cancer cells travel away from your ovaries through your fallopian tubes and uterus to the area around your cervix, the ovarian cancer cells could be collected during a Pap smear. But this is rare, so the Pap smear isn't a reliable test for ovarian cancer.
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.Next question
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- Collins LG, et al. The future of cancer screening. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice. 2009;36:623.
- Ovarian cancer screening (PDQ) patient version. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/screening/ovarian/patient/allpages/print. Accessed May 4, 2012.
- Cancer of the ovary. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq096.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20120504T1215224941. Accessed May 4, 2012.
- van Nagell JR, et al. Ovarian cancer screening. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2012;55:43.
- Gallenberg MM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 7, 2012.