Symptoms of ovarian cancer

Symptoms of ovarian cancer

Symptoms of ovarian cancer

symptoms of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer
Ovarian Cancer
Source NCI: visualonline.cancer.com

Cancer, in general, is when cells in the body start to grow out of control.  This can happen in most any part of the body. These cells can continue to grow and then spread to other parts of the body.  In the case ovarian cancer, normal cells in the ovary change into abnormal cells and grow out of control.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer
Normal ovary. Source: www.lainfertilidad.comhormona-foliculo-estimulante-fsh

The ovaries are part of the female reproductive system.  They produce eggs for reproduction as well as make estrogen and progesterone.  Most women have two ovaries, and they are around 3-5 cm.   If an ovary becomes cancerous, it usually starts to enlarge.

Recognizing symptoms early, before the cancer has spread to other parts of the body could save your life

Ovarian Cancer. symptoms of ovarian cancer
Ovarian Cancer. Source: Department of Pathology, Calicut Medical College wikimedia creative commons

As the tumor in the ovary gets bigger, the cancer cells might come off the ovary and spread to other parts of the body where it starts to grow. This is called Metastasis.  When this happens, ovarian cancer is much more difficult to treat.

Recognizing symptoms early, before it has spread to other parts of the body could save your life.   Unfortunately, ovarian cancer doesn’t always cause obvious symptoms early on, which is why it is often known as “The Silent Killer.”

Ovarian Cancer is known as the “Silent Killer.” 

 

Symptoms of ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer. Source: Cancer Research UK Wikimedia Commons

In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, only about 20 percent of cases are diagnosed at an early stage.   If diagnosed early, ovarian cancer is much easier to treat with a 5-year survival rate of anywhere from around 80 to 90 percent.   However, if it isn’t diagnosed until it has developed into later stages, it is much more difficult to treat with a 5-year survival rate of around 20 to 30 percent   So listening to your body and knowing what to look for is valuable for any woman who still has her ovaries.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Your abdomen getting bigger.
  • Feeling bloated or having stomach pain
  • Feeling full or having trouble eating. This means that you might feel full all the time, or it might mean that you get full very easily, even if you haven’t eaten very much.
  • Needing to urinate often

Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach or heartburn
  • Back pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Constipation or menstrual changes

Many women ignore these symptoms because they are vague.  Often, women write these symptoms off as other common, less serious problems.   Some women don’t have any symptoms early on.  If you do notice these symptoms, it’s best not to ignore them.   See your medical provider to have your symptoms evaluated.  Ovarian cancer isn’t the most common female cancer, but it the deadliest of the gynecological cancers.

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