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Ovarian Cancer Health Center

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Summary of Evidence

Note: Separate PDQ summaries on Ovarian Cancer Prevention; Ovarian Epithelial Cancer Treatment; Ovarian Germ Cell Tumor Treatment; and Ovarian Low Malignant Potential Tumor Treatment are also available.

CA 125 Levels, Transvaginal Ultrasound, and Pelvic Examinations

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Statement of benefit

There is solid evidence to indicate that routine screening for ovarian cancer with the serum marker cancer antigen (CA )125 and transvaginal ultrasound (TVU) does not result in a decrease in mortality from ovarian cancer.

Description of the Evidence

  • Study Design: Evidence obtained from a randomized controlled trial.
  • Internal Validity: Good.
  • Consistency: One trial has evaluated the impact on mortality from ovarian cancer.
  • Magnitude of Effects on Health Outcomes: No reduction in mortality.
  • External Validity: Not applicable (N/A).

Statement of harms

Based on solid evidence, routine screening for ovarian cancer results in many diagnostic laparoscopies and laparotomies for each ovarian cancer found.

Description of the Evidence

  • Study Design: Evidence obtained from cohort studies and randomized trials.
  • Internal Validity: Good.
  • Consistency: Volume of evidence is limited but consistent and coherent.
  • Magnitude of Effects on Health Outcomes: The number of surgeries performed per invasive cancer diagnosed with combination screening using CA 125 measures and transvaginal ultrasound is about 20.
  • External Validity: Good.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: May 16, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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