About Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer will affect 1 in 70 women in the United States over their lifetime and is the deadliest gynecologic cancer. While once thought to be a “silent” killer, ovarian cancer frequently has identifiable symptoms that may lead to detection at an earlier and more treatable stage, which is associated with a greatly improved prognosis. Additionally, while all women are at risk for ovarian cancer, some women have a personal or family history that may further substantially increase their risk.
What symptoms could be early signs of Ovarian Cancer?
Symptoms associated with ovarian cancer, and often experienced by women without ovarian cancer. This is one reason why detecing ovarian cancer is difficult.
Recent studies have shown that the following symptoms are much more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than women in the general population:
• Pelvic or abdominal pain
• Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
• Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Women with ovarian cancer frequently report that they have persistent bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, or urinary symptoms (such as urgency or frequency) which are new and represents a change from what is normal for their bodies.
Occasionally experiencing any of the above symptoms is, of course, normal for most women and does not mean that you have ovarian cancer. But if you experience any of these symptoms, that are not normal for you, almost daily for 2-3 weeks, talk to your doctor, preferably a gynecologist.
If after seeing your doctor ovarian cancer is suspected or diagnosed, see a gynecologic oncologist. Women with ovarian cancer treated by a gynecologic oncologist have better outcomes.
Several other symptoms have also been commonly reported by women with ovarian cancer, including fatigue, indigestion, back pain, pain with intercourse, constipation and menstrual irregularities. However, these other symptoms are also found just as often in women in general and therefore experiencing them alone is not as useful in identifying ovarian cancer.