The following information is taken from the website of Ovarian Cancer Canada. Please donate to help find a cure.
Ovarian cancer is the most serious of all gynecological cancers. Over 2500 Canadian women are diagnosed every year; and every year 1700 women succumb to this disease. Symptoms are varied, vague and easily missed.
There is no screening test to detect it. But when found early – and treated – ovarian cancer survival rate is 90%.
This Is What Every Woman Needs To Know:
- There is a lifetime risk of 1 in 70 that you will develop ovarian cancer.
- Many doctors are unfamiliar with the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and fail to consider it as a possible diagnosis.
- Failure to find the disease in its early stages is partly due to (i) lack of sensitive detection tests and (ii) health care providers and even women themselves may ignore warning symptoms.
- A Pap smear does not detect ovarian cancer.
- HPV vaccine helps prevent cervical cancer, not ovarian cancer.
- Pain in the abdomen is not necessarily a symptom of ovarian cancer – even if you have no pain, your doctor cannot rule out ovarian cancer.
- Even though ovarian cancer is known as the “disease that whispers” the majority of women with ovarian cancer report symptoms, including women diagnosed at an early stage.
- Ovarian cancer rates rise after menopause, peaking from age 60-75, although it can occur at any age.
- The hereditary form, found in families where many close relatives have had breast and/or ovarian cancer, tends to occur at an earlier age.
There is no one specific symptom for ovarian cancer. The symptoms are generally vague, non-specific and can be mistakenly attributed to other causes. Just because you have the symptoms, does not mean you have ovarian cancer.
Common Warning Symptoms:
- Swelling or bloating of the abdomen
- Pelvic discomfort or heaviness
- Back or abdominal pain
- Gas, nausea, indigestion
- Change in bowel habits
- Emptying your bladder frequently
- Menstrual irregularities
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Mass or “lump” in your pelvis that you can feel
- Inability to eat normally
- Pain with intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding
If you have one or more of these symptoms and these symptoms persist for 3 weeks or longer, see your health practitioner immediately.