Your ovaries lie deep within your pelvis, which makes disease detection tricky. Early screening methods for ovarian cancer have so far proved unreliable, and although routine pelvic exams include a check for anything that feels out of the ordinary, early-stage ovarian tumors easily escape detection because they're difficult to feel. In addition, ovarian cancer has a reputation for being "silent," meaning symptoms tend to be either vague or nonexistent until the disease has spread.
Screening for ovarian cancer is not yet a routine part of typical preventive healthcare, partly because no screening methods have been shown to be reliably accurate. Have your physician identify if you are at a high risk for developing ovarian cancer by screening family and personal cancer histories so that preventive strategies can be provided to you.
But if you have symptoms you're concerned about, talk to your gynecologist. He or she may perform a pelvic exam to feel your ovaries for anything unusual. But remember, most early ovarian tumors are extremely difficult to feel. If your symptoms persist, occur in combination, or get worse, go back to your gynecologist. Don't ignore unusual or painful symptoms. If you feel you're not being taken seriously or your care is not as thorough as you'd like, you may want to consider getting a second opinion.