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    Designed to supplement the medical treatment of cancer patients by giving them tools to cope with the stress of their illness, make informed choices about treatment, and maintain hope.

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  • Cancer Imaging & Intervention

    The Cancer Imaging & Intervention Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging combines leading-edge technology and the expertise of specialty-trained radiologists to provide comprehensive cancer detection and monitoring, plus image-guided treatments for specific types of cancer.

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  • Gynecologic Program

    The Gynecologic Program in the Department of Radiation Oncology administers innovative radiation treatments to women with malignancies of the reproductive tract.

About This Condition

Ovarian Cancer: Tests After Diagnosis

What tests might I have after being diagnosed?

If initial tests and exams strongly suggest that you have ovarian cancer, you’ll likely have other tests. These tests help your healthcare providers learn more about your cancer. They can help show if the cancer has grown into nearby areas or spread to other parts of your body. The test results help your healthcare providers decide the best ways to treat the cancer. If you have any questions about these or other tests, be sure to talk with your healthcare team.

The tests you may have can include:

  • Chest X-ray

  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan

  • Colonoscopy

  • Laparoscopy

Imaging tests

Chest X-ray

This test is done to see if the cancer has spread to your lungs.

PET scan

This test is used to look for cancer throughout your body. Your healthcare provider puts a small amount of a radioactive sugar into your blood. He or she does this by putting a needle into one of the veins on your arm or hand. Over about an hour or so, it’s taken up by active cells in your body that need a lot of energy. This includes cancer cells. A special camera then scans your body to look for collections of the sugar. These show up as “hot spots” on the scan. They may be a sign of cancer.


For this test, you’re put into a deep sleep. Your healthcare provider puts a long, lighted tube into your rectum and colon. Colonoscopy is used to see if cancer has spread to the colon or rectum, or if the cancer might have started in the colon itself.


You’re put into a deep sleep for this test. Your healthcare provider then makes a small cut in your abdomen (belly). He or she then puts a long thin tube into the cut. This tube sends pictures to a computer screen. This lets your healthcare provider look closely at your ovaries and the inside of your abdomen. In rare cases, your healthcare provider can use small tools through the tube to take out tissues samples if he or she sees spots that may be cancer. This test helps your healthcare provider see if and how far the cancer has spread.

Working with your healthcare provider

Your healthcare provider will talk with you about which tests you'll have. Make sure to get ready for the tests as instructed. Ask questions and talk about any concerns you have.


  • When the doctor becomes the patient - 10/30/2015, Mass General

    As the director of the emergency medical transport group Boston MedFlight, Suzanne Wedel, MD, is a critical care doctor who often is asked to provide an immediate diagnosis. Now Wedel is fighting for the possibility of an early diagnosis for tens of thousands of women like her, with ovarian cancer.

  • Genetic Profiling Uncovers New Therapeutic Approaches to Ovarian Cancer - 2/14/2011, Mass General

    Advances Spring 2011 Issue. In the United States, ovarian cancer remains the deadliest of all gynecologic malignancies and the fifth leading cause of cancer death for women. The lack of an adequate early-detection screening assay is a major factor in the high fatality rate. More than 75 percent of cases present with advanced-stage disease; of these patients, fewer than 30 percent have five-year disease-free survival rates or are cured.

  • Paying it Forward - 1/11/2011, Clinical

    After nearly losing everything to stage-4 ovarian cancer, Kim Lohnes is helping others receive the care they desperately need.

Patient Education

  • Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center

    The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center is a program that offers a range of support resources around the Cancer Center. The center has an ongoing mission to make support services, as well as respite and community-building areas, more accessible to patients and families throughout the Cancer Center.

  • The PACT Program

    The Marjorie E. Korff PACT program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center provides psycho-educational support for parents who are patients.