Follow-up testing for ovarian cancer

Follow-up testing after treatment for ovarian cancer is important to monitor a woman’s health, manage symptoms and to provide support. However, there is no evidence that a woman will live longer if a doctor finds that the cancer has come back sooner rather than later.

After a woman completes her initial treatment she will need to discuss follow-up with her gynaecological oncologist/ treatment team.

What does follow-up involve?

Follow-up visits might include:

  • a physical examination, including a pelvic examination,
  • a blood test for CA125 or other cancer markers
  • a discussion about any symptoms or side effects of surgery or chemotherapy
  • a discussion about any concerns or problems.

Other tests such as a computed tomography (CT) scan or an ultrasound may be used for some women.

Follow-up may be done by a woman’s gynaecological oncologist, medical oncologist or another member of the treatment team. A woman may see her gynaecological oncologist at one visit and her medical oncologist at the next visit. For women who have had surgically-induced menopause, follow-up might be shared with the referring gynaecologist or GP to help manage menopausal symptoms.

How often are follow-up tests done?

The frequency of follow-up tests will vary for individual women. The timing of the visits can be reviewed as time goes on and depending on progress.

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