How are granulosa cell tumors (GCTs) of the ovaries diagnosed?

Updated: Aug 30, 2018
  • Author: David C Starks, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Warner K Huh, MD  more...
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Important considerations

In all cases in which reproductive-aged women (even at the extremes) present with abdominopelvic complaints, a pregnancy test should be ordered to help exclude the possibility of pregnancy. Occasionally, patients with other tumors, such as carcinoma of the pancreas or other GI tumors, have an elevated bhCG level in the absence of pregnancy.

Pelvic and rectal examinations should not be deferred in reproductive-aged patients who present with vague abdominal complaints. Pelvic masses are not palpable upon abdominal examination until they reach 8-10 cm and are pushed up out of the pelvis. Failure to perform pelvic and rectal examinations may delay diagnosis of pelvic masses such as ectopic pregnancies and malignant tumors. This can have grave consequences both for patients and physicians.

The widespread use of ultrasonography in obstetrics has led to more frequent diagnosis of adnexal masses during pregnancy. Pregnancy is not a contraindication to proceeding with a workup of an abdominal mass. However, surgical intervention should be delayed until 16-18 weeks of gestation to decrease risks to the fetus in the embryonic stage of development.

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