Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

Bloating, constipation, and stomach pain are possible symptoms of ovarian cancer. However, there may be no early symptoms, or they may be similar to other conditions. This is why most women are not aware they have ovarian cancer until the disease is advanced. Pain may not be an ovarian cancer symptom, so do not to wait to feel pain before seeing your healthcare provider.

An Introduction to Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is a disease in which cancerous cells form in the tissues of the ovaries. It has the highest death rate among cancers of the female reproductive tract, mainly because there may not be any obvious warning signs for ovarian cancer and no screening tests are available. Two out of three women diagnosed with ovarian cancer already have an advanced form of the disease.
 
The sooner ovarian cancer is found and treated, the better a woman's chance for recovery.
 

Early Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

Many times, women with ovarian cancer have no symptoms, or only mild symptoms, until the disease is in an advanced stage. This is why ovarian cancer has historically been referred to as a "silent" disease. 
 
But recent research has shown that early symptoms are actually present more often than previously thought. The problem is that many women may ignore them because these symptoms are either vague or are commonly seen with other conditions, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI).
 
These possible early symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
 
  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal (stomach) pain
  • A change in bladder habits, such as urgent or frequent feelings of needing to go (urinary incontinence)
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly.
 
Research has shown that these symptoms are more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than in the general population. These women reported symptoms as continual and as a change from normal for them.
 

Other Possible Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

As the cancer continues to grow within the ovaries and then spreads to other parts of the body, symptoms become more pronounced. These other possible signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer may include:
 
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue 
  • Frequent or painful urination
  • Back pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling of fullness, even after a light meal
  • Weight gain or loss with no known reason
  • Abnormal bleeding from the vagina (heavy periods or bleeding after menopause)
  • General abdominal or pelvic discomfort and/or pain (gas, indigestion, pressure, swelling, bloating, or cramps)
  • Pain with intercourse.
       
Any of the early symptoms or those listed here are not sure signs of ovarian cancer. Other problems can also cause similar symptoms. So if you have any possible signs or symptoms of ovarian cancer, see a healthcare provider as soon as possible so that the problem can be properly diagnosed and treated. This is especially the case if symptoms do not go away or have lasted for more than a couple of weeks.
 
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