The Silent Killer - Must Know Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is a frightening and potentially lethal cancer that effects women, especially older women. It’s one of the more common cancers, as well—in 2012, 152,000 women died from ovarian cancer. One of the most frightening aspects about ovarian cancer is that it often has no symptoms early on—yet early detection is important, because if you catch it early enough, doctors have a very high success rate at treating you. While there is no “magic bullet” symptom, there are some common symptoms that you should look for. If these symptoms don’t have an obvious cause, going to see your doctor is probably a very good idea.
#1 - Back pain
There are obviously many possible sources for back pain, including simple muscle sprains and arthritis. However, if you have back pain that begins to worsen over time, and you simply cannot find a cause, it could be an early warning sign for ovarian cancer. At the very least, if there’s no obvious external source for it, you should have it checked out by a medical professional.
#2 - Pain in Lower Abdomen or Pelvic Region
Pain is one of the easiest symptoms to recognize, though one of the least specific ones to diagnose. If you have pain in your lower abdomen, or a sudden heaviness around your pelvis on a regular basis with no obvious external cause, it could be a sign of early-stage ovarian cancer.
#3 - Very Abnormal Menstrual Cycles
While most of us associate ovarian cancer with middle age or the elderly—and, in fact, about 70 percent of ovarian cancer cases occur in women 55 or older—pre-menopausal women can also develop the disease. If your menstrual cycle starts changing dramatically, then that’s a good reason to consult your doctor.
#4 - Excessive Fatigue
Fatigue is often a sign of a progressed stage of ovarian cancer. When cancer continues to spread, everyday activities become harder. You may experience a loss of appetite, nausea, breathlessness and, yes, general fatigue. These are signs that something is wrong, though obviously it’s not necessarily cancer.
#5 - Painful Sex
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a cancer in the ovaries can cause issues with your reproductive system. Pain and pressure in your pelvis, coupled with a need to urinate more often and more urgently, are two very negative signs that can indicate an early stage of ovarian cancer. Any sort of regular painful sex indicates that something is wrong and should result in a trip to the doctor as quickly as possible.
#6 - Feeling Full Easily
A loss of appetite could more simply be related to depression or a stomach flu—it’s logical to assume that feeling full or not wanting to eat is related to your digestion in some way, shape or form. However, things like the stomach flu get better over time, and you’d find your appetite returning. If you find yourself consistently feeling overly full, it may be time to consult a physician.
#7 - Nausea and Vomiting
While nausea by itself could just be a sign of food poisoning or constipation, once again, if it persists for an extended period of time, it could be a warning sign for ovarian cancer. Advanced cancer can cause your intestines to become blocked, which is a sure cause for nausea and abdominal pain. If your nausea is accompanied by diarrhea and bloating, you should consult a physician.
#8 - Dark and Coarse Hair Growth
More rarely, women have reported excessive hair growth as a symptom of ovarian cancer. Small cysts in the ovaries could cause a hormonal imbalance, which could lead to that hair growth. It’s certainly a rarer symptom, but it’s definitely a cause for concern.
#9 - Bloating Belly
One of the most familiar warning signs of ovarian cancer is bloating, coupled with general pain in the abdomen. Again, if it goes away quickly, it’s probably a more minor condition like IBS, but if it lasts for days or weeks, it could be indicative of a more severe problem.
#10 - Frequent Constipation
As to be expected from an ailment effecting your ovaries, the abdomen and digestive track have the most frequent symptoms, especially in the early stages before it has a chance to spread. Frequent constipation, especially coupled with some of the earlier signs on this list, can absolutely be a sign that something is wrong. Again, if you have any concerns, you need to consult a physician.