One of the most deadly cancers of a woman’s reproductive system is the ovarian cancer. This is the 9th most common kind of cancer in women and is the 5th leading reason of cancer deaths. Lack of screening tests and delay in the detection is the reason for the high death rate. The symptoms are usually very subtle in the early stages.
The symptoms and signs of ovarian cancer might start early and women need to keep a watch on these symptoms to diagnose the disease and seek aid quickly. Ovarian cancer represents a cluster of diverse types of tumors that occur from different kinds of tissue which are present within in the ovary.
The ovarian cancer that occurs from the epithelial cells, which are the outermost layer of cells, is the most common type of cancer. The cancer that develops from the supporting tissue or egg forming germ cells is some of the rarest types of the ovarian cancer. Benign cysts and tumors are also seen in the ovary. These are more common than the ovarian cancer.
Signs & Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
According to the statements issued by the American Cancer Society, the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists and Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, the following are some of the key symptoms that are noticed in females with ovarian cancer. Studies have shown that these signs are also noticed in the initial stages of the disease.
In the initial stage, the symptoms are not very obvious. However, they are noticeable as the malignancy grows, as there is pressure from the tumor growth on the rectum and bladder and fluid starts to accumulate:
Swelling, fullness and abdominal discomfort along with pelvic pain are usually noticed. There is an increase in the abdominal girth and the clothes fit tighter around the waist.
The person might find it difficult to eat and feels full quickly. There is loss of appetite and they might also experience nausea and gas.
Bowel and Bladder Habits
Bowel habits are changed and constipation might be a common occurrence. Besides this, there is the problem of frequent urination.
Occasionally symptoms such as low back pain, involuntary weight loss, lack of energy and extreme fatigue, rectal bleeding, abdominal distension, abnormal vaginal bleeding are also noticed in a woman with ovarian cancer.
Women who are experiencing all the above symptoms every day for few weeks must immediately see a physician, preferably a gynecologist. It should be noted that these symptoms are:
Persistent (they do not go away with normal interventions such as laxatives, exercise, rest or diet change), frequent (occur several times in a month) and new (they might have started sometime back and they are not common).
However, these symptoms don’t always indicate ovarian cancer. Usually, the symptoms are not specific to the ovarian cancer and they generally mimic common ailments like bladder or digestive problems.
In case, there is a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer the risk of developing this type of cancer is quite high. Testing for gene mutations will help in the diagnosis, as it gives information about the risk involved.
Due to its silent and vague symptoms only 19% of the ovarian cancer are detected in the initial stages.
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