Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most deadly form of cancer that strikes women. The numbers are particularly depressing in this area: In 2020, an estimated 21,750 women will receive a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, an estimated 13,940 women will succumb to the disease. Ovarian cancer is known for hitting older women.
Thankfully, rates of death for ovarian cancer have been declining over the past twenty years. Though it is deadly, ovarian cancer can be treated if it is caught early enough, and if women are aware of some of the symptoms of this terrible cancer.
Ovarian cancer may come with a variety of symptoms, and it is always worth contacting your doctor if you are concerned. Common symptoms include:
- Pain in your abdomen or stomach. This can also feel like a pressure buildup in the same area.
- Fullness in your abdomen, and particularly, fullness after eating. You may also have problems eating, eat less, or feel like you are too full to eat.
- Bloating in your abdomen.
- Urinary problems. You may experience more frequent urges to use the bathroom, or you may actually begin to use the bathroom more frequently.
The above are the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer. However, these are not the only symptoms. Other symptoms include:
- An increase in your levels of fatigue.
- Pain in more instances than you are used to, such as back pain or pain during sex.
- Changes in your menstrual cycle, including irregular bleeding or heavier bleeding than you are used to.
- Stomach trouble, including having an upset stomach or being constipated.
- Weight loss.
If you are displaying these symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately. There is no specific screening test for ovarian cancer, but your doctor will likely give you one of two tests:
- A transvaginal ultrasound, which uses an ultrasound wand that is inserted into a woman's vagina. This can help identify a mass, but cannot tell if the mass is cancerous or benign - additional testing will be needed for that.
- A CA-125 blood test, which determines the levels of the CA-125 protein in your blood. However, again, this is not a foolproof method of testing for ovarian cancer, as many reasons (including ovarian cancer) can cause a woman's CA-125 levels to increase.
Keep in mind that any of the above symptoms may be displayed for a variety of women. Having one of these symptoms does not mean you have ovarian cancer, and can mean any number of things. The best thing you can do is see your doctor and get their guidance about what to do next.
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