can a full blood count detect ovarian cancer

Mariah Brown

written by

Mariah Brown

update on

can a full blood count detect ovarian cancer

Welcome to this informative article about detecting ovarian cancer through a full blood count. Are you interested in learning more about how a simple blood test can help in the early detection of ovarian cancer? If so, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll explore the potential of a full blood count for detecting ovarian cancer. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of how this test can play a role in the diagnosis of this disease.

As someone experienced in the topic of “can a full blood count detect ovarian cancer,” you already know that early detection is crucial. It can greatly increase the chances of successful treatment and improve long-term outcomes. That’s why it’s important to explore all the available diagnostic options, including blood tests. So, let’s dive in and discover more about the potential of a full blood count in detecting ovarian cancer!

Understanding Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the ovaries. This reproductive organ plays a crucial role in the female reproductive system, producing eggs and releasing hormones. Unfortunately, ovarian cancer often goes undetected until it has reached an advanced stage. That’s why it’s vital to find effective ways of detecting this disease early on.

Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

It’s essential to be aware of the risk factors associated with ovarian cancer. While having one or more risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll develop the disease, it’s still important to understand the potential risks. Some common risk factors for ovarian cancer include:

  • Family history of ovarian, breast, or colorectal cancer
  • BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations
  • Older age
  • Personal history of breast cancer
  • Endometriosis

If you have any of these risk factors, it’s crucial to remain vigilant and discuss appropriate screening options, such as a full blood count, with your healthcare provider.

How Can a Full Blood Count Help Detect Ovarian Cancer?

A full blood count, also known as a complete blood count (CBC), is a common blood test that provides valuable information about the types and numbers of cells in your blood. While a full blood count is not a specific test for ovarian cancer, it can still provide important insights into a person’s overall health and potentially detect certain abnormalities that may indicate the presence of cancer.

During a full blood count, several parameters are evaluated, including:

  • Red blood cell count
  • White blood cell count
  • Platelet count
  • Hemoglobin concentration
  • Hematocrit level

If any of these parameters show abnormalities, further investigation may be warranted to determine the underlying cause. In the context of ovarian cancer, certain changes in these blood parameters may serve as potential indicators of the disease.

Indirect Indicators of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer can indirectly affect blood counts in a few different ways. One common phenomenon associated with ovarian cancer is anemia, which refers to a decrease in the number of red blood cells or the amount of hemoglobin in the blood. Anemia can result from several factors related to ovarian cancer, including chronic inflammation or bleeding.

Beyond anemia, other indirect indicators of ovarian cancer may include changes in platelet counts and white blood cell counts. These changes can occur due to the body’s immune response or the presence of tumors.

Other Diagnostic Methods for Ovarian Cancer

While a full blood count can provide useful insights, it’s important to remember that it alone is not sufficient for a definitive diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Other diagnostic methods are typically needed to confirm or rule out the presence of ovarian cancer. Let’s explore a few of these methods:

Imaging Tests

Imaging tests such as ultrasounds, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and positron emission tomography (PET) scans can help visualize the ovaries and surrounding tissues. These tests can provide detailed images that aid in the detection of tumors or other abnormalities.


A biopsy involves the removal of a small tissue sample for laboratory analysis. In the case of suspected ovarian cancer, a biopsy may be performed during a laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows a closer look at the ovaries and surrounding structures. The biopsy sample can help determine the presence of cancer cells and provide information about the specific type and stage of ovarian cancer.

Blood Tests

In addition to a full blood count, there are specific blood tests that can detect certain markers associated with ovarian cancer. For example, the CA-125 blood test measures the level of a protein called CA-125, which can be elevated in individuals with ovarian cancer. While this test is not specific to ovarian cancer, it can still be used as a potential tool for monitoring disease progression or detecting recurrences.


In conclusion, while a full blood count is not a direct test for detecting ovarian cancer, it can provide valuable information and serve as an essential part of the diagnostic process. Indirect indicators, such as changes in red blood cell counts, white blood cell counts, and platelet counts, may provide clues that warrant further investigation and potentially lead to an early diagnosis. If you have any concerns about ovarian cancer, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional who can guide you through the appropriate diagnostic tests and screening methods.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Can a full blood count alone provide a definitive diagnosis of ovarian cancer?

A: No, a full blood count alone is not sufficient for diagnosing ovarian cancer. It can provide valuable insights, but other diagnostic methods, such as imaging tests, biopsies, and specific blood tests, are typically required for a definitive diagnosis.

Q: Why is early detection important in ovarian cancer?

A: Early detection is crucial in ovarian cancer because it often presents with vague symptoms and is frequently diagnosed at an advanced stage. Detecting the disease early can greatly improve treatment outcomes and increase the chances of long-term survival.

Q: Are there any specific symptoms to watch out for in ovarian cancer?

A: Ovarian cancer can present with various symptoms, including abdominal bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, frequent urination, and changes in bowel habits. However, these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Q: Is ovarian cancer hereditary?

A: In some cases, ovarian cancer can be hereditary. Mutations in genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 can increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer. If there is a family history of ovarian, breast, or colorectal cancer, it’s essential to discuss genetic counseling and testing with a healthcare provider.

Q: How often should I have a full blood count if I’m at risk for ovarian cancer?

A: The frequency of full blood counts or any other diagnostic tests may vary depending on individual risk factors and recommendations from healthcare professionals. It’s advisable to discuss a suitable screening schedule with your healthcare provider.


1. American Cancer Society. (2021). Tests for Ovarian Cancer. Retrieved from

2. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Ovarian Cancer. Retrieved from

3. National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. (n.d.). Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis. Retrieved from

4. Cancer Research UK. (2021). Blood Tests. Retrieved from

Leave a Comment