Ovarian Cancer Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women and the deadliest among gynecologic cancers. It is estimated that over 22,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, and over 14,000 women will die from the disease. Early detection is key in improving outcomes, and recognizing the symptoms is an important step in diagnosing ovarian cancer. Here are some ovarian cancer symptoms women should be aware of:
1. Abdominal Bloating: Persistent bloating, discomfort, or a feeling of fullness can be a sign of ovarian cancer. Bloating that lasts more than two weeks and cannot be explained by diet or digestive issues should be evaluated by a doctor.
2. Pelvic Pain: Pain or pressure in the pelvic area may occur with ovarian cancer. This pain may be ongoing or intermittent and may be accompanied by urinary urgency or frequency.
3. Difficulty Eating or Feeling Full Quickly: Women with ovarian cancer may have a decreased appetite or find it difficult to eat, even when they are hungry. This may also be accompanied by feeling full quickly or experiencing nausea and vomiting.
4. Changes in Bowel Habits: Ovarian cancer can cause changes in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea, that persist more than a few days without an explanation.
5. Abnormal Bleeding: Bleeding or spotting between periods, after menopause, or heavy periods may signal ovarian cancer.
6. Unexplained Weight Loss: Weight loss that cannot be attributed to changes in diet or exercise may be a symptom of ovarian cancer.
It is important to note that these symptoms can be attributed to other conditions as well. However, if any of these symptoms persist for more than 2-3 weeks, or if they occur in combination, it is important to see a healthcare provider for evaluation. Early diagnosis can increase the chances of successful treatment and improve outcomes. Women who have a family history of ovarian cancer, have had breast cancer, or have the BRCA gene mutation may have a higher risk of ovarian cancer and should discuss screening options with their doctor.
In addition to being aware of the symptoms, women can take steps to lower their risk of ovarian cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly, taking birth control pills, and having children can all play a role in reducing the risk of ovarian cancer.
In conclusion, ovarian cancer symptoms can be subtle and easily overlooked, but early detection can save lives. Women should be aware of the symptoms and talk to their doctor about any concerns. Early detection and treatment can improve outcomes and save lives.