How We Diagnose Gynecological Cancers
An accurate and thorough diagnosis is important so that your City of Hope gynecologic oncology team can develop the best treatment plan for you. Your highly skilled team will use the most advanced and powerful diagnostic imaging technologies and laboratory techniques to plan your personalized treatment.

Imaging studies give your gynecologic oncology team important information about changes that may be occurring in your reproductive organs.
Computed tomography (CT) scan
This procedure uses a computer connected to an X-ray machine to obtain detailed pictures of areas inside the body. A dye may be used to help visualize organs or tissues more clearly.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
PET scan uses a small amount of radioactive substance to look for evidence of cancer in the body.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
Women who are at extremely high risk for developing gynecologic cancer because of family history, genetics or prior treatment may require closer screening with a pelvic MRI. A pelvic MRI scan is a highly sensitive imaging test that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the reproductive organs and surrounding tissue. It does not use radiation.
Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to examine reproductive organs. An ultrasound may be used to distinguish between a solid mass, which may be cancer, and a fluid-filled cyst, which is usually not cancer. For a better view of the ovaries, a special ultrasound device may be inserted into the vagina (transvaginal ultrasound).

A biopsy is a test in which a sample of tissue or fluid is obtained through a needle or by removing a piece of tumor, which is then examined using a microscope. By examining the piece of tumor under the microscope, we can answer questions about the specific composition of the tissue.
Blood tests
The laboratory may check the level of several substances, including Cancer Antigen 125, which is found on the surface of ovarian cancer cells and on some normal tissues. A high CA-125 level could be a sign of ovarian cancer or other conditions. The CA-125 test is not used alone to diagnose ovarian cancer. This test is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for monitoring a woman's response to ovarian cancer treatment and for detecting its return after treatment.