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Hereditary Cancer Info > Risk Management > Ovarian Cancer Screening

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Ovarian Cancer Screening

Learn about the steps that people at high risk for cancer can take to manage their risk and protect their health.

Pelvic exam

A pelvic exam is an internal vaginal exam by a health care provider to look and feel for abnormalities of the reproductive system. The pelvic exam should include a rectovaginal exam—the health care provider feels the ovaries by inserting a gloved and lubricated finger in the rectum and another finger of the same hand into the vagina at the same time, while pressing on the abdomen. As uncomfortable as it may sound, the rectovaginal exam should not be painful; it provides the best possible way for a health care provider to actually feel the position, size and shape of the ovaries. Although a pelvic exam might pick up an abnormality that could indicate cancer, it is not considered a sensitive or a specific test for ovarian cancer. Nevertheless, the pelvic exam should be part of a thorough exam for all adult women.

Updated 12/29/2016

FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered