Can a pap test detect ovarian cancer?

Not exactly. Pap (Pap Smear) test is a short form of Papanicolaou test that includes collecting the cells from the cervix and examining them through a microscope. A pap test detects changes in the cervical cells to recommend a prognosis for cervical cancer. 

Doctors often recommend asymptomatic women routinely undergo pap tests to detect cervical cancer. A study has shown that the pap test has reduced the burden of cervical cancer to a great extent in the USA.

However, doctors generally do not recommend pap tests to detect ovarian cancer. Usually, a pap test cannot detect ovarian cancer until the cancer cells have reached the cervix. As cancer cells rarely move through ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus to reach the cervix, a pap test is not a reliable option to screen ovarian cancer. 

Till now, there is no single reliable screening tool to confirm ovarian cancer at an early stage. Doctors often perform a few tests from the pelvic exam, transvaginal ultrasound and CA-125 blood test to confirm ovarian cancer.

However, a recent study has shown that a pap test can be developed to detect ovarian cancer because the collected samples contain tumour-specific biomarkers of ovarian cancer. According to this study, a pap test can be modified to screen these biomarkers and detect ovarian cancer.

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Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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