Ovarian germ cell tumor is a general name that is used to describe
several different types of cancer. The
most common ovarian germ cell tumor is called dysgerminoma. See the following PDQ
summaries for information
about other types of ovarian tumors
Signs of ovarian germ cell tumor are swelling of the
abdomen or vaginal bleeding after menopause.
Ovarian germ cell tumors can be hard to diagnose
Often there are no symptoms
early stages, but
tumors may be found during regular gynecologic
exams (checkups). Check with your doctor if you have either of the following:
without weight gain in other
parts of the body.
Tests that examine the ovaries, pelvic area, blood, and ovarian
tissue are used to detect (find) and diagnose ovarian germ cell tumor.
The following tests and procedures may be used:
and history: An exam of the body to check general signs
of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
Pelvic exam: An exam of the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and rectum. A speculum
is inserted into the vagina and the doctor or nurse
looks at the vagina and cervix for signs of disease. A Pap test
of the cervix is usually done. The doctor or nurse also inserts one or two lubricated, gloved fingers of one hand into the vagina and places the other hand over the lower abdomen to feel the size, shape, and position of the uterus and ovaries. The doctor or nurse also inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel for lumps or abnormal
Laparotomy: A surgical
procedure in which an incision
(cut) is made in the wall of the abdomen
to check the inside of the abdomen for signs of disease. The size of the incision depends on the reason the laparotomy is being done. Sometimes organs
are removed or tissue
samples are taken and checked under a microscope
for signs of disease.
A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray
machine. A dye
may be injected
into a vein
or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
Serum tumor marker test: A procedure in which a sample of blood
is checked to measure the amounts of certain substances released into the blood by organs, tissues, or tumor cells in the body. Certain substances are linked to specific types of cancer when found in increased levels in the blood. These are called tumor markers. An increased level of alpha fetoprotein
(AFP) or human chorionic gonadotropin
(HCG) in the blood may be a sign of ovarian germ cell tumor.
Certain factors affect prognosis
(chance of recovery and treatment options).