Leavitt Women’s Healthcare

Ovarian & Cervical Cancer Screening Specialist

Regular screenings for ovarian and cervical cancer are the most effective way to diagnose cancer in its early and more treatable stages. The doctors at Leavitt Women’s Healthcare, located in Idaho Falls, Idaho, offer screenings to women from throughout southeastern Idaho.

Ovarian & Cervical Cancer Screening Q & A

  • Why is it Important to Have Regular Screenings for Ovarian & Cervical Cancer?
    • Most forms of cancer cause no symptoms in their early and more easily treated stages. The most effective way to diagnose cancer early is to have regular screenings. Women are able to have the simple tests to check for ovarian and cervical cancer during their annual well-woman visits. This is also a great opportunity for a woman to discuss any changes in her health and wellbeing with her doctor, which could reveal symptoms that indicate cancer or another condition that needs medical attention.
  • What are the Tests for Cervical Cancer?
    • A pap smear is the best method to identify and diagnose cervical cancer or precancerous growths. Women should begin to have Pap smears at the age of 21 or when they become sexually active, whichever comes first. Women between the ages of 21 and 29 should have a Pap smear every 3 years, then every 5 years between the ages of 30 and 65. However, if a woman is at a higher risk of developing cervical cancer, for example, if she has a family history of cervical cancer or has had abnormal Pap smear results previously, she should be screened more frequently. It is important to be honest about your health history and follow your doctor’s advice on how often to have a Pap smear to protect and preserve your health.
  • What are the Tests to Screen for Ovarian Cancer?
    • Screening for ovarian cancer is often completed through pelvic exams, blood work, and transvaginal ultrasounds. During a pelvic exam, the doctor can feel for abnormalities in the ovaries. Blood work can reveal a certain chemical produced when ovarian cancer develops, and ultrasounds can reveal tumors on the ovaries. Women at increased risk of developing ovarian cancer are recommended to have the screenings. Risk factors for ovarian cancer include:
      • Family history
      • Endometriosis
      • Never used birth control
      • Never been pregnant
      • History of breast cancer