ovarian cancer symptoms

Ovarian cancer affects the ovaries?the female reproductive organs that produce eggs. Just over 21,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, but this is one of the deadliest cancers in women, in part because only one in five ovarian cancers is diagnosed at an early stage. No screening tests for ovarian cancer exist, as they do for breast and prostate cancers.

The later ovarian cancer is found, the harder it is to treat. That?s why it?s critical to stay alert for any ovarian cancer symptoms and report them to your gynecologist right away. Seeking prompt medical help for ovarian cancer symptoms will enable you to receive treatment that could save your life.

Ovarian cancer symptoms can include bloating, feeling full quickly when you eat, and abdominal or pelvic pain or pressure. The disease can cause changes in urinary habits, such as feeling like you have to urinate more frequently. Less common ovarian cancer symptoms include pain during sex, fatigue, back pain, menstrual changes, and stomach upset.

Although early-stage ovarian cancer can cause symptoms, warning signs are more likely to develop after the disease has already spread beyond the ovaries. Many ovarian cancer symptoms are the same as those of other, noncancerous conditions, which can confuse diagnosis. One way to distinguish ovarian cancer symptoms from those of other conditions is that they will typically be new for you, and they?ll be continuous.

Knowing your family history can also help you determine whether you have ovarian cancer symptoms. Your risk of getting ovarian cancer is higher if a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) had the disease, or if you have a family history of colorectal or breast cancer. Your doctor will test for ovarian cancer with a transvaginal ultrasound and/or a blood test to check for a protein called CA-125. Levels of this protein rise in women who have ovarian cancer.

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