Top 8 Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer Women Need to Know About

Every year, many women with ovarian cancer are misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, stress, reflux or a urinary tract infection, because of similarities in symptoms. [1] If you are showing symptoms of ovarian cancer, the most important thing for you to remember is to stay calm.

Just because you may have some symptoms of ovarian cancer does not necessarily mean you have the disease. According to the American Cancer Society, a woman’s chance of developing invasive ovarian cancer during her lifetime is approximately 1 in 73. [2]

Here are the eight most common warning signs of ovarian cancer you should watch out for.

1. Fatigue

Feeling tired most of the time is not normal.

Having no or low energy is a sign of something being wrong with your body and it should be checked out by your physician.

2. Pelvic Pain

A woman could feel pain or discomfort in the pelvic region and sometimes in the abdomen. If the pain is persistent, it should not be ignored or covered up through the use of painkillers. Pain in the pelvic region is something which should be addressed.

3. Constipation and Other Bowel Changes

Ovarian cancer and bowel changes go hand in hand. Women who have persistent digestive issues which include constipation, diarrhea, increased gas, bloating, nausea and vomiting, should see a doctor as soon as possible.

4. Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain which radiates to the pelvic region, accompanied by pelvic heaviness should be taken seriously and a medical examination is necessary.

5. Appetite Loss and Feeling “Full” More Quickly When you Eat

A decreased appetite and unexplained weight loss could be indicative of ovarian cancer, so a woman needs to seek medical attention to uncover the cause.

. Urgent or Frequent Urination

When a woman has a frequent and strong urge to urinate and has trouble holding urine for short periods of time, it could be due to weakened pelvic floor muscles or a urinary tract infection. However, if it continues after seeking medical treatment, it is important for a woman to mention it to her doctor.

7. Pain During Sex

The most common reason for pain during sexual intercourse is because of insufficient vaginal lubrication.

In women who have advanced ovarian cancer, pain during intercourse is usually felt in the right or left side of the pelvis.

8. Abdominal Bloating

Abdominal swelling or bloating is very common in women with ovarian cancer. As the disease progresses, abdominal distention and bloating will become worse. The abdomen will constantly increase in size and it is a symptom which requires urgent medical investigation.

What are The Risk Factors Associated with Ovarian Cancer?
The precise cause of ovarian cancer is not known. However, there are risk factors associated with the disease which every woman should be aware of and these include:

Childbearing and menstruation: Women who have never had children are at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. Women, who begin menstruating before the age of 12 years old or those who have reached menopause at a later age, also have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. The number of menstrual cycles a woman goes through seems to be linked to the chances she will develop ovarian cancer. [4]

Age: Women who are above the age of 50 years old are at a greater risk for ovarian cancer. Approximately half of all women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed over the age of 60 years old. These statistics do not mean ovarian cancer does not happen in younger women, but it is much rarer in those younger than 40.

Genetic mutations: The main genetic mutations which are closely associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer are the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes produce tumor suppression proteins. Women with the BRCA1 gene have a 40% lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer. Those females with the BRCA2 genetic mutation have about a 10-20% lifetime risk for ovarian cancer. [5]

Family history: If you have a family history of ovarian cancer, colon cancer or breast cancer, it can directly increase the chances you have of developing ovarian cancer. [6]

Certain medications: Women, who take hormone replacement therapy after menopause or those who have used infertility medications in large doses and for long periods of time, can have an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Other risk factors: Some other risk factors which increase a woman’s chances of developing ovarian cancer include obesity, polycystic ovarian syndrome, smoking and using an intrauterine device.

There are no reliable testing methods which can effectively screen for ovarian cancer. It is important for a woman to see a doctor if she has any concerns about ovarian cancer. A physician will generally perform a pelvic exam and an ultrasound to check a woman’s internal organs for any abnormalities. Blood tests can also be conducted to test for the proteins that are present when a woman has ovarian cancer.

Medical researchers continue to study ovarian cancer to develop better detection methods for earlier diagnosis. Until that time comes, a woman should pay close attention to her body and listen to her gut instincts when it tells her something might be wrong. By taking an active role in your own healthcare, you can be your own advocate and know what to do in the event you develop a serious health condition.



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