Ovarian cancer is one of the most difficult types of cancer to detect. In many cases, the early signs of ovarian cancer are not clear cut and are dismissed easily. Statistics show that only 20 percent of all ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed while in the early stages. The American Cancer Society estimates:
- About 22,440 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer this year.
- About 14,080 women will die from ovarian cancer.
What Are the Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?
The following is an overview of the 6 most often missed ovarian cancer symptoms and what you should be looking for.
1.) Problems Eating
Ovarian cancer can produce a change in the hormone levels in women who have it, such as the hormones that regulate and control the metabolism. For this reason, many women who have ovarian cancer have a difficult time eating because they feel full very quickly.
2.) Difficulty Urinating
Ovarian cancer can cause urinary problems such as increased urination or difficulty urinating. This is caused by the excess fluid that builds up in the abdominal cavity, which pushes on the bladder producing the urge to urinate. Urinary problems are typically thought to be a bladder problem, making it one of the most commonly missed symptoms of ovarian cancer.
3.) Chronic Abdominal Pain
Many women with ovarian cancer experience chronic episodes of abdominal pain, which are often dismissed as menstrual or ovulation pain. Any type of chronic pain in the abdominal area should be taken very seriously and examined by a doctor as soon as possible to rule out ovarian cancer.
4.) Irregular Menstrual Bleeding
Spotting or bleeding between periods and at unusual times is a sign of many health conditions, including ovarian cancer. Any bleeding between periods should be taken very seriously and thoroughly investigated by a doctor.
5.) Unusual Or Changing Bowel Habits
Fluid build up in the abdominal cavity around the colon often produces changes in bowel habits such as constipation or frequent diarrhea. This occurs most often when ovarian cancer is in the later stages and had spread to the colon and surrounding areas.
6.) Bloating In The Abdominal Area
Women are accustomed to some bloating during certain times of the month, but it can also be a sign of ovarian cancer. The bloating related to ovarian cancer occurs when fluid accumulates in the abdominal area, typically when the cancer is in the later stages.
Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors
While it is impossible to predict who will develop ovarian cancer, some people are at an increased risk of developing the disease. Some risk factors include:
- Being Overweight
- Never Having A Pregnancy
- History Of Breast Or Colon Cancer
- Having A History Of Endometriosis
- Taking Certain Types Of Fertility Drugs
- Having A Family History Of Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian Cancer Survival Rate
According to the American Cancer Society, the survival rates of those diagnosed with ovarian cancer are:
- 90 Percent In Stage 1
- 70 Percent In Stage 2
- 39 Percent In Stage 3
- 17 Percent In Stage 4
As evidenced by the statistics, the survival rate goes down significantly with every stage, making early detection key to treating this disease successfully.
It is important to learn the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, as the prognosis is much better with early diagnosis and treatment. Most doctors treat this type of cancer with surgery to remove the uterus and ovaries, followed by intensive chemotherapy.
While the outcome of this treatment is different for everyone, the prognosis is always better when treatment is started while ovarian cancer is in the earlier stages.
Listen to These Women Share Their Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
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