Ovarian cancer is one of the most dangerous types of cancer since early symptoms are not easily detected. Ovarian cancer may not cause early symptoms in some women. However, many women will experience symptoms even in the early stages of ovarian cancer.
Common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- Frequent bloating
- Pain in the pelvis or abdomen
- Difficulty eating
- Urinary issues, such as frequent urination
Other symptoms that women with ovarian cancer could experience may include back pain, indigestion, fatigue, constipation, pain with intercourse, and changes in menstruation. However, these symptoms are fairly common in women who do not have ovarian cancer and can’t be used as absolute indicators of the disease.
Other less common symptoms of ovarian cancer may include vaginal bleeding, sudden weight gain or loss, and nausea or vomiting.
Symptoms May Worsen as the Cancer Grows
The above symptoms will normally become worse as the cancer grows in the body. As for the less common symptoms of ovarian cancer, they may or may not be related to the disease. Only a doctor will be able to determine if less common symptoms of ovarian cancer are an indication of the disease.
Although ovarian cancer is often known as the “silent killer” because symptoms are so difficult to detect early on, paying attention to the most common symptoms will help to diagnose the disease early.
The American Cancer Society, the Society of Gynecological Oncologists, and the Gynecological Cancer Foundation have all confirmed that paying attention to the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer can help detect the disease in its early stages. The most common symptoms again are pelvic pain, difficulty eating, bloating, and urinary issues.
Yet health experts caution women not to overreact if they experience any of the common symptoms listed above. These symptoms could be related to a number of other ailments and may not be a precise indicator of ovarian cancer. But if a woman experiences an unusual occurrence of the symptoms on a daily basis for several weeks at a time, it is important to see a gynecologist right away.
Fortunately, ovarian cancer is rare and is responsible for only 3% of cancers in women. Many times, the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer can be confused with other digestive problems, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
It is more important than ever for women to pay attention to these common symptoms associated with ovarian cancer. There is currently no routine screening for the cancer, so it is up to women and their doctors to use the most common symptom list to determine if a woman has developed ovarian cancer in the early stages.
Women with the symptoms above are recommended to get a full physical and gynecological exam, including pelvic and rectal exams, from their healthcare provider. If any of the tests come back abnormal, a woman will be recommended to undergo an ultrasound to look for ovarian masses. She may also need blood tests and related procedures depending upon the results of the ultrasound.
Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis and Staging -->
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- "Ovarian cancer - PubMed Health." National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2011.
- "Ovarian Cancer Has Early Symptoms." American Cancer Society: Information and Resources for Cancer: Breast, Colon, Prostate, Lung and Other Forms. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Oct. 2011.
- "Specific Symptoms May Signal Ovarian Cancer." American Cancer Society: Information and Resources for Cancer: Breast, Colon, Prostate, Lung and Other Forms. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Oct. 2011.