Tags: Cancer | Ovarian Cancer | Symptoms | Health

Do I Have Ovarian Cancer? 6 Symptoms Women Should Never Ignore

By    |   Tuesday, 10 Feb 2015 03:54 PM

Ovarian cancer kills an estimated 14,180 women a year in the United States alone. Any presentation of the symptoms of ovarian cancer should never be ignored because the early stages are, for the most part, clinically silent. Thus once symptomatic, time is of the essence for diagnosis and treatment.

Approximately 21,290 new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed each year. "Ovarian cancer accounts for about 3 percent of cancers among women, but it causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system," according to the American Cancer Society.

Ovarian cancer is a growth of malignant cells that begin in the ovaries and they can metastasize to other organs in the pelvis. Cancer cells can also travel through the bloodstream or lymph nodes to other areas of the body. Ovations for the Cure points out, "up to 10 percent of ovarian cancers result from an inherited tendency to develop the disease. Mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes can predispose a woman to develop breast or ovarian cancer."

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Here are six symptoms women should never ignore, as they may be an indication of ovarian cancer:

1. Abdominal swelling: Any unexplained abdominal swelling or increased girth that cannot be resolved by dietary or lifestyle changes can be considered a cause for concern.

2. Bloating: While diet and indigestion can cause bloating, persistent bloating is an underlying symptom of a medical condition and should not be ignored. In the case of ovarian cancer, it may be due to a tumor or a buildup of fluid.

3. Urinary urgency or increased frequency: While this symptom can be attributed to various medical conditions such as a bladder infection, in combination with other symptoms of ovarian cancer it can be a significant indicator.

4. A feeling of fullness and a loss of appetite: Women with ovarian cancer often feel full immediately after they begin eating. Cancer.net explains, "Some types of cancer — including ovarian, pancreatic, and stomach cancers — may cause a loss of appetite, usually by affecting a person's metabolism, which is the process of the body breaking down food and turning it into energy."

5. Unexplained weight loss or weight gain: This can be attributed to a lack of appetite or to the additional mass of a tumor.

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6. An annual pelvic exam is one way ovarian cancer can be detected. However, while a medical exam can reveal the size and shape of the ovary, unfortunately most tumors are not easy to detect by touch. An important aspect of the annual exam is the conversation between women and their doctors. This discourse may reveal the presence of symptoms that have been ignored.

According to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, "When the symptoms are persistent, when they do not resolve with normal interventions (like diet change, exercise, laxatives, rest) it is imperative for a woman to see her doctor. Persistence of symptoms is key. Because these signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer have been described as vague or silent, only around 19 percent of ovarian cancer is found in the early stages. Symptoms typically occur in advanced stages when tumor growth creates pressure on the bladder and rectum, and fluid begins to form."

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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Ovarian cancer kills an estimated 14,180 women a year in the United States alone. Any presentation of the symptoms of ovarian cancer should never be ignored because the early stages are, for the most part, clinically silent.
Ovarian Cancer, Symptoms, Health
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2015-54-10
Tuesday, 10 Feb 2015 03:54 PM
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