Ovarian cancer is called the “silent killer” due to the subtle symptoms which resemble common menstrual symptoms. This type of cancer is one of the deadliest– according to statistics by the American Cancer Society, only 20-30% of women diagnosed with late stage ovarian cancer are still alive after 5 years.
Due to the subtle symptoms and the lack of good routine screening tests, ovarian cancer is usually caught at an advanced stage it when there is not a lot doctors can do. The usual symptoms of the disease are subtle an include lower abdominal bloating, a feeling of fullness or mild congestion in the pelvis, which are also symptoms of menstruation of bowel sluggishness. The risk of ovarian cancer increases with age. It is the 5th most common cancer in American women and the 2nd most common gynecological cancer. However, the death rate of ovarian cancer is very high due to the late detection, which is why you should never ignore any unusual symptom.
Sadly, the hectic schedule of modern life and the short doctor visit may cause your doctor to be dismissive and tell you that you’re suffering from inflammatory bowel syndrome or digestive problems. However, when a woman comes to the doctor with abdominal symptoms, she shouldn’t be dismissed and must be taken seriously, as it can be a question of life or death!
The best way to detect ovarian cancer is to do a pelvic exam in which the doctor manually checks for abnormal growth. Another option is a pelvic ultrasound that can be performed at most gynecological offices. If there’s something suspicious, you should go for a CT scan and do blood tests with tumor markers. A surgery may be needed after the diagnosis is established. There are surgeons who specialize in gynecological surgeries and specialized doctors which focus on cancer surgeries. It’s best to seek out a specialist in case you need a surgery – you always want to have the best care and assessment, and statistics show that women who were under the care of gynecologic surgeons received a more accurate diagnosis, treatment and outcome.
Women with family of ovarian, breast and colorectal cancers are more exposed to the risk of ovarian cancer and should consider doing advanced tests at least twice a year.
The signs below are the most common signs of ovarian cancer and some other diseases as well, which is why you need a detailed exam. If the symptoms go on for a long time, it may be a sign of cancer – this is why you shouldn’t wait to visit the doctor if the symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks.
The 10 most important warning signs of ovarian cancer
Pelvic Pain or Discomfort
Pain during sex
Loss of appetite or feeling full quickly after a meal
Persistent gasses or indigestion
Lower back pain
A bigger abdomen