Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled, sac-like structures within an ovary. Most cysts are never noticed and resolve without women ever realizing that they are there. When a cyst causes symptoms, pain in the belly or pelvis is by far the most common one. Most cysts are diagnosed by ultrasound, which is the best imaging technique for detecting ovarian cysts. Ultrasound imaging is painless and causes no harm.
The ideal treatment of ovarian cysts depends on the woman's age, the size (and change of size) of the cyst, and the cyst's appearance on ultrasound. Treatment can consist of simple observation, or it can include blood tests to help evaluate the cyst for the potential of cancer.
If the tumour is causing severe pain, not resolving or is suspicious in any way, then it can be removed by surgery. Once the cyst is removed, the growth is sent to a pathologist who examines the tissue under a microscope to make the final diagnosis as to the type of cyst present.