Diagnosis Cancer

Peritoneal Cancer

In making a diagnosis of peritoneum cancer, your doctor will begin by asking about any symptoms you may be experiencing, as well as reviewing your medical history and conducting a thorough physical exam. The following tests also may be performed:

  • Pelvic Exam This test involves feeling the uterus, vagina, ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder and rectum to find any abnormality in their shape or size.
  • Ultrasound This refers to the use of high-frequency sound waves that are aimed at the ovaries. The pattern of the echoes they produce creates a picture called a sonogram. Healthy tissues, fluid-filled cysts and tumors look different on this picture.
  • CA-125 Assay This is a blood test used to measure the level of CA-125, a tumor marker that is often found in higher-than-normal amounts in the blood of women with ovarian cancer or peritoneal cancer.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan This is a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine.
  • Lower GI Series or Barium Enema This is a series of X-rays of the colon and rectum. The pictures are taken after the patient is given an enema with a white, chalky solution containing barium, which outlines the colon and rectum on the X-ray, making tumors or other abnormal areas easier to see.
  • Biopsy This test involves removing tissue from the suspected area for examination under a microscope. A pathologist studies the tissue to make a diagnosis. To obtain the tissue, the surgeon performs a laparotomy, an operation to open the abdomen. If cancer is suspected, the surgeon may perform an oophorectomy, where the entire ovary is removed. Occasionally a needle biopsy is performed, but this is not generally performed on ovarian tumors if surgery is planned.

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.