Scientists have developed a new test that can help doctors identify ovarian cancer more accurately and cut down on instances of unnecessary surgery.
The new test is designed to help diagnose different types and stages of ovarian cancer.
Scientists from Belgium and the UK said many women with cancer were not getting the right treatment.
The test is designed to distinguish accurately between benign cysts and malignant tumors as well as identify how aggressive tumors are.
It was developed by University of Leuven and Imperial College London scientists to help the patient get the right surgical treatment.
The test uses a combination of patient information, blood test results and ultrasound scans to predict the malignancy, type and stage of the cancer.
The researchers used data from 3,506 patients in 10 European countries between 1999 and 2007 to develop the test.
The research team, reporting their findings in the BMJ, then trialed the test with a further 2,403 patients between 2009 and 2012.
Ovarian cancer can be difficult to diagnose early, because symptoms such as bloating and abdominal pain can be put down to other common illnesses.
It is the most aggressive gynecological cancer, with only about 40% of patients still alive five years after being diagnosed, according to the research paper.
One of the main factors in survival is how early the cancer is diagnosed. There is currently no screening available, so patients have to rely on seeing a doctor and being correctly diagnosed in time.
Another important factor in the survival rate is whether surgery is carried out by a specialist surgeon, the researchers said.
Many women were currently operated on by general surgeons, possibly because the true nature of the illness came to light only during surgery.
If women were diagnosed in the early stages of ovarian cancer they had a 90% chance of surviving the next five years, but if the cancer was found at a later stage, the five-year survival rate reduced to 22%.