Does a Pap Smear Screen for Ovarian Cancer? A Comprehensive Look

A Pap smear does not screen for ovarian cancer. In fact, no reliable screening or early detection tests exist for ovarian cancer. A Pap smear does not test for ovarian cancer; it screens for cervical cancer.

If a woman has the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, her doctor will probably perform a complete pelvic exam, a transvaginal or pelvic ultrasound, radiological tests, such as a transvaginal ultrasound or CT scan, and a CA-125 blood test.

Used individually, these tests are not definitive; they are most effective when used in combination with each other.

For this reason, it is important that women be aware of risk factors, including their personal risk, of developing ovarian cancer, and to know the common symptoms associated with the disease.

OCRA funds researchers who are striving to unlock more discoveries about ovarian cancer—how it develops, how to prevent it, how to better treat it and ultimately, how to stop it.

What is a Pap Smear?

A Pap smear, also known as a Pap test, is a gynecologic procedure performed in a doctor’s office or clinic. In this procedure, cells are collected from the cervix, which is the lower, narrow end of the uterus. The cells are then examined under a microscope to check for abnormalities that could indicate cervical cancer or precancerous cervical cells, also called cervical precancer.

Typically, women are recommended to start receiving Pap smears from age 21, repeating every three years if the results are normal.

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