Ovarian cancer is often called the ‘silent’ killer because many times there are no symptoms until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. Early ovarian cancer symptoms are often mild, making this disease difficult to detect. Know what to look for and take action as soon as possible.
Early Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
- Bloating. You may feel bloated during PMS or when you eat too much, but women with ovarian cancer experience bloating every day, and there is no relief. It may be mild bloating similar to when you have eaten too much, or it may be severe to the point where it is difficult to button your pants or sit down.
- Pelvic or abdominal pain. Pelvic pain that occurs even when you are not menstruating or ovulating can be an early symptom of ovarian cancer. The pain can feel dull, similar to menstrual cramps, or more severe, requiring you to lie down or take pain medication. Chronic pelvic pain that is not related to menstruation is not normal, regardless of the cause.
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly. If you feel full before you have finished with an average-sized meal and this feeling occurs frequently, then something may be wrong.
- Feeling a frequent or urgent need to urinate. If you feel as though you are going to the restroom more often and have not increased your fluid intake, or you have the urge to urinate and do not actually go, then you may be at risk.
If you have any of these symptoms on a daily basis or for more than a few weeks, see your doctor or gynecologist. Learn more about Baptist Health Cancer Care.
Are you at risk?
Though the cause of ovarian cancer is unknown, factors raising your risk of ovarian cancer include having a personal history of breast cancer or a family history of ovarian cancer, not having children or having trouble getting pregnant, carrying a genetic mutation (BRCA gene) or being obese or older than 45.