Symptoms

Historically ovarian cancer was called the “silent killer” because symptoms were not thought to develop until the chance of cure was poor. However, recent studies have shown this term is untrue and that the following symptoms are much more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than women in the general population. These symptoms include:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)

Women with ovarian cancer report that symptoms are persistent and represent a change from normal for their bodies. The frequency and/or number of such symptoms are key factors in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Several studies show that even early stage ovarian cancer can produce these symptoms. Women who have these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks should see their doctor, preferably a gynecologist. Prompt medical evaluation may lead to detection at the earliest possible stage of the disease. Early stage diagnosis is associated with an improved prognosis. Several other symptoms have been commonly reported by women with ovarian cancer. These symptoms include fatigue, indigestion, back pain, pain with intercourse, constipation and menstrual irregularities. However, these other symptoms are not as useful in identifying ovarian cancer because they are also found in equal frequency in women in the general population who do not have ovarian cancer.

It is important to understand that symptoms associated with ovarian cancer are common and often due to other causes. We all have these symptoms from time-to-time, but it does not mean that we have ovarian cancer. Again, if you have these symptoms, and they are new and occur almost daily for more than a few weeks, this could be a sign of ovarian cancer. Seek prompt medical attention, preferably from a gynecologist.

 

Spotlight

2015 National Race to End Women’s Cancer registration is now OPEN! Register early to reserve your team name. See you Nov. 8!

Awareness

Radiation side effects can cause their own symptoms and suffering. Cervical cancer survivor @tranetteiswrite reports on the issue in her new piece.

Research

The Foundation for Women’s Cancer is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2014-2015 Research Grant and Prizes. View the PDF.

Education

The next Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course is May 8 in Orlando, FL. For more information, click here.