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Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2011;71(1):41-6. doi: 10.1159/000320731. Epub 2010 Dec 15.

Ultrasound for ovarian cancer screening: are we throwing the baby out with the bath water?

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Early Pregnancy, Acute Gynaecology and Advanced Endosurgery Unit, Nepean Clinical School, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia.


The lack of standardization in gynaecological scanning is worrying, especially with regard to the sonographic evaluation of adnexal masses. The results of ongoing trials on the use of ultrasound as a screening test for ovarian cancer are likely to be affected by this lack of standardization in terminology and classifications. The lack of high-quality gynaecological ultrasound, combined with the low prevalence of ovarian cancer, may yield to a poor performance of transvaginal ultrasound as a screening test for ovarian cancer in large trials. In order to increase the specificity of ultrasound in a screening program, thus reducing unnecessary surgeries, a uniform, reproducible and accurate method for the sonographic evaluation of ovarian masses must be implemented. This move to improve and standardize reporting in gynaecological ultrasound should negate the need to use the phrase 'complex ovarian mass'. In this paper, we will critically evaluate current terminology, newly proposed accepted morphological classification of ovarian cysts as well as the ability for ultrasound to discriminate between benign and malignant ovarian masses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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