Ovarian cancer refers to any cancerous growth that occurs in the ovary. The majority of ovarian cancers arise from the epithelium (outer lining) of the ovary. it is the 5th most common cause of cancer deaths in women. Among the gynecologic cancers (uterine, cervical, and ovarian), ovarian cancer has the highest rate of deaths.
Ovarian cancer is often called a “silent killer,” but many women do experience symptoms before being diagnosed. Do you know what they are?
Most of the symptoms seem like minor health problems, but they are not minor. There are a number of experiences fro women who have been diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. Most of them say they noticed these symptoms but thought they were minor health issues.
That’s why the deadly disease usually is diagnosed in advanced stages when it’s more difficult to treat and is often incurable.
But ovarian cancer isn’t really silent. Most women have noticeable, uncomfortable symptoms for weeks, even months, before being diagnosed.
Causes of ovarian cancer
Although we know that ovarian cancer, like many other cancers, is caused by cells dividing and multiplying in an unregulated way, nobody completely understands why cancer of the ovary occurs.
However, we know that the following risk factors are linked to a higher chance of developing the disease:
High number of total lifetime ovulation’s
Infertility or fertility treatment
HRT (Hormone replacement therapy)
Symptoms of ovarian cancer
1. More frequent and urgent urination
Running to the bathroom more often than usual? Is your urine stream slow, slight or painful? It might be overactive bladder or a urinary tract infection. Or maybe it’s a sign of ovarian cancer.
A 52-year-old woman had begun to experience leaks when she sneezed or coughed, and the problem worsened.
“I would suddenly leak when I was just walking or even standing still,” she says. But when she made it to the bathroom, she struggled to urinate.
“It should have been a huge red flag,” she was later diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer.
A sudden change in urinary habits, especially urgency and frequency, is a common ovarian cancer symptom.
2. Tummy issues
Gastrointestinal disturbances – often misdiagnosed as diverticulitis or irritable bowel syndrome – are among the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer. About 25% of women experience constipation and nearly one-third complain of indigestion before diagnosis, according to a 2012 report. Others may have diarrhea, or alternating constipation and diarrhea. Many women say they can’t control passing gas.
3. Lack of appetite
any illnesses – hepatitis, heart failure or even the medication you’re taking – trigger loss of appetite, difficulty eating and feeling full after a few nibbles. But these are also among the top ovarian cancer symptoms.
4. You Have Heartburn
Other digestive troubles are commonly dismissed and linked to a poor diet and too much stomach acid.
Though not as widely reported as other symptoms, some women notice an upset stomach, heartburn, GERD or acid re-flux before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer
5. You feel (and look) bloated.
Are your pants getting tighter? Feeling bloated? Don’t just attribute it to a bad diet. A big, swollen tummy and feelings of bloat are ovarian cancer red flags; 61% of women reported increased abdominal size and 57% complained of bloat, according to Goff’s 2012 report.
6. Pain in the pelvis
58% of women with ovarian cancer had pain in the pelvis area three to six months before seeing a physician.
7. Sex is Painful
Many women – and doctors – attribute painful s3x to dry vaginal tissues, a common problem after menopause. It’s not usually listed among the most common ovarian cancer symptoms. But some women – note that sex has become painful. There may also be bleeding with intercourse.
8. You’re Exhausted
You used to be the Energizer Bunny, but now all you want to do is sleep. Fatigue is one of the leading symptoms of gynecological cancer.
Women should please learn to pay attention to their body. This could save you a lot of pain and even save your life.