Understanding Ovarian Cancer Early Symptoms
Ovarian cancer has historically been alluded to as a “quiet” disease. This is because it was felt that most ladies with ovarian cancer had no early symptoms. It was not until the later stages of the disease that symptoms became noticeable.
In any case, several ovarian cancer research examines have as of late been distributed demonstrating that there may, in fact, be warning signs for ovarian cancer. And these early symptoms are actually present more regularly than already thought.
This latest research has provoked several leading cancer organizations to release an ovarian cancer symptoms agreement statement on the conceivable early warning signs for the disease.
5 Early Symptoms Of ovarian cancer
We’ve long considered ovarian cancer a silent killer with few if any, early symptoms. However, it turns out ovarian cancer may not be as stealthy as we once thought. There are, in fact, some early signs of the disease that are important to recognize.
Why is it so crucial? The unfortunate reality is that more than 70 percent of women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed when the cancer is more advanced and has a poorer prognosis.
- The five-year survival rate (the percentage of women who survive for five years or more after diagnosis) for early-stage ovarian cancer is about 80 to 90 percent.
- The five-year survival rate for advanced-stage ovarian cancer varies from about 28 to 40 percent.
“Women tend to ignore early signs of ovarian cancer or think their symptoms are simply related to aging, weight gain or other less serious problems,” says Amina Ahmed, MD, a gynecologic oncologist at Rush. “That’s what makes ovarian cancer so difficult to detect early when it is most curable.”
Taking symptoms seriously is also important because there is currently no screening method for ovarian cancer for women who do not have symptoms and do not have a family history or BRCA genetic mutations (which put them at a higher risk for developing ovarian cancer).
Don’t ignore these symptoms
While ovarian cancer symptoms can be vague, the key is paying attention to how long symptoms last, according to Ahmed. “The story for so many women with ovarian cancer is that they’ve actually had symptoms for months before diagnosis,” she says.
Talk to your doctor if your symptoms are sustained — they don’t come and go, they do not go away within one to three weeks, or over-the-counter medications don’t help. By recognizing these early symptoms, women may have a fighting chance to catch — and treat — the disease before it progresses:
Almost every woman has experienced bloating, an uncomfortable feeling of fullness in your belly. While it is normal to feel bloated, especially around your monthly cycle, consistent bloating that lasts every day for up to three weeks is not.
Persistently feeling bloated and full is one of the most common early signs of ovarian cancer. And bloating accompanied by abdominal distension (visible swelling in your stomach) could be a red flag that there is a problem.
“Pay attention to any changes in your bowel habits,” Ahmed says. “Specifically, new constipation that is not relieved by any interventions can be a sign.”
3. Prolonged pain
Persistent pressure in the abdomen and pelvis and/or lower back pain that lasts for one to three weeks can signal a problem. While this vague symptom can accompany any number of conditions, it is important to note if the pain is new to you, it does not come and go, and cannot be easily attributed to other factors.
If your pain improves when your stress is alleviated, then your symptoms are likely related to stress. If your pain improves if you make some changes in your diet, it is likely a GI-related problem.
“Unfortunately, it can be really hard to differentiate between symptoms of ovarian cancer and GI- or stress-related problems,” Ahmed says. “That’s why so many women see a number of specialists before they are finally diagnosed.”
If you have these symptoms if they are not going away and if you’ve tried finding relief on your own, talk to your doctor about the following tests:
- A pelvic exam
- A GI evaluation, which includes a physical exam and possibly GI tests (e.g., endoscopy, colonoscopy)
- CT scan, MRI or ultrasound
Women tend to ignore early signs of ovarian cancer or think their symptoms are simply related to aging, weight gain or other less serious problems. That’s what makes ovarian cancer so difficult to detect early, when it is most curable.
4. Change in bladder function
Typically, when women experience urinary problems, such as pain when urinating or urgency, they frequently think it’s a urinary tract infection. Often, it is.
But bladder-related issues can also signal a gynecologic or reproductive problem, like ovarian cancer.
Specific urinary symptoms associated with ovarian cancer include the following:
- Feeling pressure or pain in the bladder
- Frequent urination
- Sudden, urgent need to urinate
“If these urinary symptoms are new to you and last more than several days, that’s a problem,” says Ahmed. “Talk to your OB/GYN or primary care physician and let them know you are concerned about both bladder problems and issues with your reproductive system.”
5. Difficulty eating
A loss of appetite is a common symptom for most forms of cancer, along with other diseases. Ovarian cancer is no exception.
In addition to a loss of appetite, early signs of ovarian cancer include feeling full quickly and having difficulty finishing even small meals. If this is a new symptom for you, contact your doctor.
Ovarian cancer can also cause different symptoms, for example,
- Acid reflux
- Back pain
- Menstrual irregularities
- Painful intercourse
- Dermatomyositis (a rare inflammatory disease that can cause skin rash, muscle weakness, and inflamed muscles)
These symptoms may happen for any number of reasons. They aren’t necessarily because of ovarian cancer. Many ladies have a portion of these issues at some time. These sorts of symptoms are frequently temporary and react to straightforward treatments much of the time. Again, cancers are best treated when recognized early. Please counsel with your specialist on the off chance that you experience new and unusual symptoms.
Signs associated with advanced ovarian cancer: In addition to these nonspecific symptoms, these patients may give paraneoplastic disorders (autoimmune symptoms, for example, subacute cerebellar degeneration; the sudden beginning of seborrheic keratoses (Leser-Trélat sign); or unexplained spontaneous, repetitive, or migratory venous thrombotic occasions (Trousseau disorder).
Different symptoms associated with advanced ovarian cancer: Advanced disease may give symptoms of regional spread or metastasis, for example, inside or ureteral impediment, or hack or shortness of breath. An exception to the late presentation of ovarian cancer symptoms is sex cord-stromal tumors, which create hormonal manifestations, for example, intelligent pubescence, abnormal uterine dying, and virilization.
Important focuses to remember for Ovarian Cancer:
On the off chance that you have a family history of any sort of cancer, you should be more informed about the signs and symptoms associated with cancer. Keep yourself informed about the 10 caution indications of cancer and counsel a specialist at the earliest in case of any abnormality.
Please take note of that the rate of ovarian cancer is very high in ladies in India and majority of the circumstances the same is distinguished in the last advanced stages accordingly lessening the extent of treatment and survival.
Medical procedure and chemotherapy are generally used to treat ovarian cancer.
1. Ovarian cancer starts in the ovaries
The CDC explains “cancer is always named for the part of the body where it starts, regardless of whether it spreads to other body parts later. Ovarian cancer is a gathering of diseases that originate in the ovaries, or in the related areas of the fallopian tubes and the peritoneum.”
2. Pap smears are important, yet they don’t check for ovarian cancer
Contrary to popular conviction, or perhaps we should say popular misinterpretation, pap smears to screen for cervical cancer and they don’t diagnose ovarian cancer.
3. There is no test that can screen for ovarian cancer before it has been diagnosed
This is the reason exams are so crucial and why you have to pay attention to any alarming symptoms you may experience.
4. Regular pelvic exams can help with early location
Your OBGYN or your gynecologist ought to perform pelvic exams as a part of your regular female health exam, in which they place maybe a couple fingers into your woman vagina and another over the abdomen to feel the size, shape, and position of the ovaries and uterus.
5. A transvaginal ultrasound is also important in examining a woman’s conceptive organs and bladder
A transvaginal ultrasound can take a photo of your conceptive organs, which can reveal if there are masses or irregularities on the surface of the ovaries and within sores that form inside the ovaries.
6. Beforehand it was imagined that ovarian cancer had no recognizable symptoms until the point when the disease had advanced to a deadly stage
This is the reason it earned the nickname “quiet executioner.” But today specialists and experts are recognizing symptoms that can help with early recognition and awareness.
What to Do If You Notice Possible Ovarian Cancer Warning Signs
Many ladies may disregard these early symptoms because they are ordinarily observed with different conditions, for example, a urinary tract disease (UTI). A few signs may also be seen as part of the normal aging procedure. Healthcare suppliers, be that as it may, suggest that any woman who has had these potential early signs or symptoms of ovarian cancer for in excess of a long time should visit their healthcare supplier, preferably their gynecologist. He or she will have the capacity to legitimately diagnose and treat the issue.
Remember that, by and large, issues in the ovaries are not actually because of cancer but rather to other, less genuine health issues. In any case, it is smarter to be safe.