Early Symptoms Of Ovarian Cancer

In the US, ovarian cancer is the fourth major cause of death from cancer for women and affects 1 in 57 women. This can be successfully treated if it is diagnosed early. However, only about 24% of ovarian cancer cases are detected early on, resulting in lower survival rates. Hence, it is highly essential for women to watch for early symptoms of ovarian cancer.

During the summer of 2007, the American Cancer Society and other similar organizations published findings that symptoms such as unexpected bloating, gas, or a feeling of fullness; fatigue, menstrual abnormalities, abdominal or pelvic pain, sudden urge and/or frequent urination and sudden changes in food habits such as difficulty in consuming food or feeling full too quickly may be early symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Women who are at risk for ovarian cancer should monitor and report suspected early symptoms of ovarian cancer to their doctor in order to have it diagnosed early. Right now, early ovarian cancer cannot be definitively detected by any one screening examination. Certain symptoms like menstrual irregularities or pelvic pain is not always indicative of ovarian cancer, but awareness of any early symptoms of ovarian cancer is helpful in saving lives.

Any early symptoms of ovarian cancer should be followed up with a visit with your doctor, who may then also recommend a bimanual pelvic examination, transvaginal ultrasound, and Ca125 blood test. Some risk factors for ovarian cancer include having the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutations, not having used birth control pills, never having been pregnant, or being diagnosed with breast cancer before 50 years of age.

The risk of developing ovarian cancer varies among women. Some risk factors for women include being an Ashkenazi Jew, being age 50 or older, having at least two relatives with a history of ovarian cancer, and a history of exposure to multiple fertility drugs. Women who fall within these categories should be cognizant of what constitutes early symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Women who experience what seem like early symptoms of ovarian cancer may not necessarily have ovarian cancer. Many of these symptoms can instead be related to other conditions, such as ovarian cysts, or irritable bowel syndrome. For this reason, women should seek medical attention, especially if these symptoms last for more than a couple of weeks.

Recognizing the early symptoms of ovarian cancer helps women to stop the progression of this deadly disease. Both women and their doctors should be aware of the risks of ovarian cancer. More than 6% of all cancer deaths in women are attributed to ovarian cancer.

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