Education & Research

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

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Symptoms and Detection of Ovarian Cancer

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

For years, women have known that ovarian cancer was not the silent killer it was said to be. Over the past decade, science has confirmed what women have long known: ovarian cancer has symptoms.

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.

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

See your doctor, preferably a gynecologist, if you have these symptoms more than 12 times during the course of one month and the symptoms are new or unusual for you.In 2007, the Alliance and other leading cancer organizations endorsed a consensus statement on ovarian cancer symptoms.

As medical research continues to investigate this important issue, numerous studies have been published indicating that symptoms may not occur until late stage or that they may not improve health outcomes.  The Alliance believes that symptoms are important, but they are not a definitive diagnostic tool.  Since there is no diagnostic tool for ovarian cancer, symptom awareness remains of key importance.  Being aware of symptoms can help women get diagnosed sooner. Early stage diagnosis is associated with an improved prognosis.

Other Symptoms Associated with Ovarian Cancer 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 (courtesy of Ovarian Cancer National Alliance).

Click here for more information on risk factors and statistics.

 

 

 

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More on this topic: Gynecologic Conditions, Gynecologic Symptoms