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

Women Magazine released a special report on ovarian cancer, featuring Q&A’s with three expert SGO surgeons and important facts about the disease.

Awareness

This year’s GCAM awareness is focused on the important link between obesity and endometrial cancer. Check out the new toolkit to learn more.

Research

The Foundation for Women’s Cancer is pleased to share its 2014-2015 Research Grants and Awards booklet. The booklet describes the prizes and the application process. Prize applications are due on October 8, 2014.

Education

The next Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course will be Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio. For more information on educational events and courses, click here.