Ovarian cancer symptoms

ovarian cancer symptoms

ovarian cancer symptoms

If ovarian cancer symptoms are identified and the cancer diagnosed at an early stage, the outcome is more optimistic. However, because some of the symptoms of ovarian cancer are often the same as for other less serious conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), it can be difficult to recognize the symptoms in the early stages – which is why most women are not diagnosed until the disease has spread.

  1. Abdominal Pain

Pain in the pelvic area or belly (abdomen) that feels very different from normal indigestion or menstrual problems (i.e., cramps) may be indicative of ovarian cancer. Most patients complain of abdominal pain that persists for longer than 2-weeks, which isn’t associated with their menstrual period, diarrhea, or the stomach flu.

  1. Indigestion

Persistent indigestion, gas, nausea, or other gastro-intestinal issues, such as heartburn, are quite common and persistent in ovarian cancer.

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  1. 3. Loss of Appetite

Ovarian cancer is known to cause an abrupt loss of appetite that’s normally out of character for the person affected. This is because the cancer impacts metabolism, or the breakdown of food into energy that fuels the body.

  1. Bloating

Frequent bloating or gas pain in your abdomen or pelvis that doesn’t go away is another symptom of ovarian cancer. For instance, if your abdomen bloats so much that your clothes fit tighter around your waist suddenly without diet or changes in activity, this may be cause for a doctor’s visit.

  1. Urinary Frequency

Urinary problems, such as being overwhelmed by a sudden urge to urinate as well as peeing more often than usual, may be signs of ovarian cancer. This can include bouts of incontinence (complete loss of bladder control before you can get to a bathroom) that will gradually worsen over a few weeks.

  1. 6. Feeling Full Quickly

In the more advanced stages of ovarian cancer, the cancer tumor itself can sit on the surface of the stomach, on the omentum (the fold in the abdominal cavity that connects the stomach to other organs), or on the intestines, causing a patient to feel full very quickly (a condition known as “early satiety”) when they eat.

  1. Alternating Constipation and Diarrhea

Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation and diarrhea, will often go hand in hand with ovarian cancer. This occurs when an ovarian tumor swells and puts pressure on the stomach, bowel, and bladder.

  1. 8. Lower Back Pain

A persistent, achy, dull pain in the lower back is a common sign of ovarian cancer. Many women equate the feeling with labor pain.

  1. Sudden Weight Loss

Shedding 10 or more pounds without the help of dieting or exercising is a common warning sign in women with ovarian cancer. Even though someone might consider it to be a welcome occurrence, this rapid and unexplained weight loss should be reported to your doctor immediately.

  1. Vaginal Bleeding

A lesser known early warning sign, one that has only been noted in approximately one quarter of women with ovarian cancer, is spotting or irregular vaginal bleeding outside of the regular menstrual cycle. Other vaginal abnormalities may include the sudden development of sores or blisters in the vaginal area, changes in skin color, or thick discharge.

  1. Shortness of Breath

Women with ovarian cancer may also experience difficulty breathing, otherwise known as shortness of breath. Unfortunately, this symptom only tends to occur in the late stages of the disease, after it has spread (metastasized). As the tumors increase in size, they can press against the lungs, making it difficult to breathe.

Cancer can also cause a build up of fluid, known as ascites. This fluid accumulates in the abdomen, putting pressure on the surrounding organs and muscles, including the diaphragm (the muscle that pulls open the lungs, allowing air to be drawn in), thus resulting in difficulty breathing.

  1. Pain During Intercourse

Another early indication of ovarian cancer is pain during intercourse, medically referred to as dyspareunia. VeryWell Health indicates, “This pain is often felt on one side more than the other but can be generalized.”

The source adds that the pain may be similar to that experienced with menstrual cramps, and may “begin with intercourse and continue for some time afterward.” Dyspareunia is a symptom that can occur with other conditions as well, however, so it’s important to get checked out by a doctor to determine the exact cause.

  1. Fatigue

Because fatigue can be the result of a wide array of factors, from overwork to excessive stress, it is an easily dismissed warning sign of ovarian cancer. But if you’ve tried getting more rest and still can’t seem to shake the feeling, it’s important to let your doctor know about it.

Such fatigue doesn’t tend to occur on its own, however. So be mindful if your tiredness or lack of energy occurs alongside other symptoms mentioned on this list, such as persistent abdominal pain, indigestion, and bloating.

  1. Menstrual Irregularities

Vaginal bleeding outside of the regular menstrual cycle isn’t the only type of menstrual irregularity that can occur in women with ovarian cancer.

Tumors in the ovaries may also cause you to miss your period entirely, sometimes for several months at a time. But, as with fatigue, missed periods on their own aren’t necessarily indicative of ovarian cancer. However, if you’re experiencing irregular menstrual cycles along with other symptoms listed here, however, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor.

  1. Dermatomyositis

Although less common, women with ovarian cancer may develop dermatomyositis, a rare inflammatory disease. There are two distinctive symptoms of dermatomyositis, the first of which is changes in the skin, specifically a violet or red-colored rash that appears most commonly on your face and eyelids and on knuckles, elbows, knees, chest and back.

The second symptom is muscle weakness in areas such as the hips, shoulders, and neck that tends to worsen over time. Although dermatomyositis tends to precede an ovarian cancer diagnosis, the source indicates that in some cases it may develop after.

10 common questions about ovarian cancer symptoms

1How long do you live after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer?
Almost half (46%) of women with ovarian cancer are still alive at least 5 years after diagnosis. Women diagnosed when they are younger than 65 do better than older women. Most women diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer have a five-year survival rate of approximately 17%.
2Can you see ovarian cancer on an ultrasound?
The 2 tests used most often (in addition to a complete pelvic exam) to screen for ovarian cancer are transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS) and the CA-125 blood test. ... It can help find a mass (tumor) in the ovary, but it can't actually tell if a mass is cancer or benign
3Can you feel an ovarian tumor?
However, these symptoms of ovarian cancer can develop at any stage of the condition and include: bloating. pelvic or abdominal pain or cramping. feeling full quickly after starting to eat or lack of appetite
4Where do you feel ovarian cancer pain?
One of the most common ovarian cancer symptoms is pain. It's usually felt in the stomach, side, or back
5Do you feel ill with ovarian cancer?
Women reported whether they had any of the symptoms associated with ovarian cancer (nausea, diarrhea, or constipation, pelvic or abdominal pain, bloating or feeling full, urinary frequency or urgency), how long they had had them, and how often
6Where is the first place ovarian cancer spreads to?
Metastatic ovarian cancer is an advanced stage malignancy that has spread from the cells in the ovaries to distant areas of the body. This type of cancer is most likely to spread to the liver, the fluid around the lungs, the spleen, the intestines, the brain, skin or lymph nodes outside of the abdomen.
7Does ovarian cancer spread quickly?
Benign tumours don't usually spread to other parts of the body. They may need treatment but they're rarely life threatening. Malignant ovarian tumours, however, are cancerous. It's important to catch cancers early because they can grow enough to engulf most of the ovary and can spread to other parts of the body too
8Is ovarian cancer detected by blood test?
New blood test can detect ovarian cancer in its early stages. ... The ultrasound test allows a doctor to look for tumors in the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, but it cannot indicate whether a growth is cancerous. The CA-125 test assesses the levels of an ovarian cancer marker in the blood.
9Who is at high risk for ovarian cancer?
One key risk factor is age. Most women who develop ovarian cancer are diagnosed after menopause, at age 55 or older, though patients in their 40s and 50s have also been diagnosed with the disease. If you have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, you may also be at an increased risk
10Is leg pain a sign of ovarian cancer?
Symptoms of more advanced ovarian cancer include: Swollen abdomen/bloating (caused by build-up of fluids that the tumor produces) Lower abdominal and leg pain. ... Swelling in the legs.

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