LIFESTYLE – Unfortunately, though, the early signs of ovarian cancer are easily overlooked. Most women don’t make an appointment until cancer reaches its later stages.
The best thing you can do is learn the symptoms of ovarian cancer, your own risk factors, and what to do if you suspect a problem.
Warning signs of ovarian cancer
Learn the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer to stay one step ahead of this silent killer:
- Abdominal bloating
Ovarian cancer can cause an abnormal buildup of fluid in the pelvis or abdomen (ascites), creating an uncomfortable, bloated feeling.
2. Increased urinary urgency
Growing tumors crowd adjacent tissues and organs. This crowding can make your bladder feel full more often. If you develop bladder spasms or urinary urgency, it’s time to make an appointment.
3. Persistent back, pelvic, or abdominal pain
Again, cancerous masses can put pressure on neighboring organs, causing them to ache or throb. Pain in the surrounding areas might also result if the cancer has spread.
4. Changes in bowel habits
You may experience constipation and diarrhea. When the tumor places pressure on your bowels, stool may become thinner.
5. Decreased appetite or difficulty eating
Nausea, a diminished appetite, or a “full stomach” sensation may be early signs of ovarian cancer. This year, the American Cancer Society’s annual Cancer Facts and Statistics Report featured a special section dedicated to the warning signs of ovarian cancer.
Researchers know that if women can just catch this condition earlier, thousands of lives could be saved each year. So, while the occasional “full tummy feeling” may not indicate trouble, prolonged appetite loss (especially when combined with the other warning signs of ovarian cancer) can be a reason for concern.
Sometimes caused by a lack of nutrition from the decreased appetite, and other times caused by cancer itself, a nagging weariness or exhaustion should not be ignored. If your body is working overtime to fight the disease or if other symptoms are disturbing restful sleep, you may feel fatigued, which is one of the most reported ovarian cancer symptoms.