Cells need folate to divide. Rapidly growing cancer cells, such as
ovarian, require large amounts of the vitamin and send out special
receptors to increase folate intake. Therefore, folate attaches more
easily to those cells than to normal tissue. After injecting the
radioactively tagged folate, doctors scan the woman's abdomen and watch
for highlighted areas, which would indicate a malignancy. Knowing if an
ovarian tumor is cancerous helps doctors determine if special techniques
will be needed to completely remove the cancer during surgery. In addition
to identifying cancerous lesions,the test may help determine if the cancer
has spread to other areas within the abdominal cavity, assess
effectiveness of treatments and monitor for recurrences.
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