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Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Message Board

Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Board Index


My mother was diagnosed with stage IIIc uterine/ovarian cancer after her ob/gyn discovered a mass involving her left ovary via CT scan. Ovarian cancer would not result in an abnormal pap smear, however, and ovarian cysts and fibroids are both common findings. It's my understanding that physicians can usually distinguish a cyst (fluid filled) from a mass (more solid) on CT scan, but there may be situations in which they cannot do that. So, it seems like you have three different issues at the moment, and you need to be aware of all three of them.

If I were you, I would write down all questions for your gyn/oncologist ahead of time. I find that that always helps, because it's hard to get yourself together when you might be feeling upset. My mother's ob/gyn did a CA-125 before referring her to the gyn/oncologist. Have you had that blood test? Then, when my mother was at the gyn/oncologist, he did a biopsy of her uterus and scheduled a radical hysterectomy. He did not feel that the mass on her ovary was likely to be cancerous, at least, not until he received the results of the biopsy, which showed cancerous tissue in her uterus. For that reason, I would - in your place - be very clear about the various growths when talking to the gyn/oncologist. "The report says X. What does that mean? Can you tell the difference between X and Y? How do you know these are Z?" Ask your gynecologist for a copy of the ultrasound and CT reports and ask your gyn/onc - or his nurse - to explain them to you in detail.

Good luck w/your appointment. Please let us know how it goes.
[QUOTE=jacksinn]Also- Uterine growths are frequently fibroids which are not cnacerous and an abnormal pap only has to do with your cervix not your uterus.[/QUOTE]

A pap smear is used primarily to detect cervical cancer or abnormal cervical cells, but may also show abnormal cells from the uterus as well.
Try not to be so frightened... many of your symptoms could just as well be extremely benign. You've had a CT and ultrasound which have shown an ovarian cyst/mass. One of your responders is right - it is very easy to differentiate between a cyst and a solid mass on ultrasound. Additionally, it is also easy to tell the difference between what appears to be a benign ovarian cyst versus a more complex cyst from just an ultrasound alone (based on calcifications, septations, papilations, etc). Your doctor should be able to interpret those reports for you. If it looks like a more complex cyst with malignant potential, your doctor will likely need to remove it surgically.

The abnormal pap smear is a different issue. It could be a variety of different things from just benign changes which require nothing more than a follow up pap smear in a few months, HPV, or cervical cancer. Although, I do want to mention that you can find abnormal cells from the uterus on a pap smear, although usually the test is used to detect abnormal cervical cells. Growths in the uterus are commonly fibroids. Less commonly they can represent malignancies. They can also be polyps. Do you have heavy periods? Women with fibroids tend to bleed heavier during their periods.

Hope you find the answers you need. Let me know if I can be of any assistance.

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