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Ovarian Cancer

What are the symptoms?

There is currently no proven screening program and 90% of ovarian cancers are not 'familial'. This means that most women willnot have any family history of this cancer, so they may not be aware of symptoms and risk

An ovarian cancer consensus statement has been developed by UK ovarian cancer experts about symptoms which could indicate ovarian cancer. Any of the following three symptoms, if they occur on most days, can suggest ovarian cancer.

  • Increased abdominal size / persistent bloating - not bloating that comes and goes
  • Difficulty eating and feeling full quickly
  • Persistent pelvic and abdominal pain

Occasionally you may experience other symptoms such as:

  • Changes in bladder habits, e.g. urinary urgency
  • Unexplained changes in bowel habits, such as constipation
  • Low back pain
  • Abdominal mass
  • Loss of appetite or quickly feeling full
  • Persistent indigestion, gas or nausea
  • Changes in menstruation
  • A persistent lack of energy

BEAT ovarian cancer symptom checker

Take the 60 second BEAT test to check for signs of ovarian cancer and to know when you should go to your GP.

How to Check for Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

Written by ehow health editor

Check for Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

It is important for women to be aware of the signs and symptoms that accompany the early stages of ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, the symptoms of ovarian cancer are similar to the symptoms of other health problems and, oftentimes, the cancer is in advanced stages before a diagnosis is made. Ovarian cancer is a malignancy of the ovaries, which are the female reproductive organs that produce eggs.


1. Check for Painful Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Pay attention to back pain. Lower back pain is one of the most common symptoms experienced by women who discover that they have ovarian cancer.

2 Be attentive to abdominal and pelvic pain that persists. Many of the symptoms of ovarian cancer are symptoms associated with other infections and normal occurrences, such as digestive problems. Notify your doctor when these symptoms continue without explanation for longer than normal.

Recognize Physical Changes As Possible Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

1 Check for changes in bowel or urine habits. Frequent urination, diarrhea or constipation can all be symptoms of ovarian cancer.

2 Know that many women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer experience unexplained fatigue as one of the first signs.

3 Notice abdominal swelling, bloating, cramps and/or feelings of fullness. In addition, chronic gas and indigestion are often felt by women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

4 See a doctor if you have heavy or unexplained vaginal bleeding, especially after menopause.

5 Be aware of a sudden or unexplained weight gain or loss.

6 Notify a doctor if you have pain during intercourse. Your gynecologist can check for ovarian cancer.

Tips and Warnings

Be sure to ask your doctor for a thorough pelvic examination if you are experiencing symptoms of ovarian cancer or believe you are in a high risk group.

Know that all private insurance carriers and managed care plans must cover initial cancer screening and testing procedures.

Experiencing symptoms of any illness, but expecially cancer, can cause anxiety and possibly depression.  Consider making an appointment to see a mental health professional in addition to see a mental health professional in addition to seeing your physician to discuss any concerns you may have.





©2003 - 2011 Dr Paul Fogarty