Ovarian cancer kills around 12,000 in the United States alone. Worldwide, the numbers could be more shocking. The most difficult thing about early diagnosis of ovarian cancer is the confusion that arises with the symptoms presented by ovarian cancer. It resembles the symptoms of indigestion and general digestion problems like irritable bowel syndrome which make women disregard the symptoms and move on.
Awareness must be created among women to look for symptoms and seek treatment early enough to offer them a chance for survival and complete cure. There are certain specific symptoms associated with advanced stages of ovarian cancer. Let’s take a look at what they are.
Persistent Aches And Pains
One of the commonest symptoms for all cancers is pain which makes you sit up and notice as it tampers with your daily life. If you experience such a nagging pain which does not seem to go away even after mild treatment methods, then you must definitely take note and plan an appointment with the doctor. The pain will be mostly around the lower abdominal area and lower back. It can radiate towards the thigh as the nerves could be crushed due to the pressure exerted by the growth.
Changes In Menstrual Cycle
When cancerous tumours occur in the ovaries, a lot of hormone changes appear in the body. These hormonal changes cause fluctuations in the menstrual cycle. While some women experience longer and heavier bleeding during menstruation, others will have menstrual cycles that are way too short and that which will come only once in two or three months. These changes can happen due to hormonal imbalances caused by other diseases like thyroid as well. But you must never disregard them to stay healthy and disease free.
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Problems With Bladder Function
Most women with ovarian cancer will have an altered urination pattern as the tumour starts putting pressure on the bladder and urinary tract, depending on its position. Symptoms will be varied based on the position of the tumour. A tumour growth that is inside the uterus will start putting pressure on the walls of the urinary tract, making urination difficult. When the tumour is such that it causes pressure on the walls of the bladder, frequent urination occurs.
Along with these severe symptoms, there would also be certain accompanying discomforts for women who have ovarian cancer. These are the symptoms that are mostly ignored as they are very commonplace and can appear even when you have a simple indigestion problem.
The symptoms to watch out for are bloating which is consistent, constipated stools, loss of appetite, extreme tiredness accompanied by feverish conditions, gas formation, loss of weight or weight gain due to hormone fluctuations, excess hair growth in the body. These symptoms are present in its mild to moderate form even in the early stages. It is only when they start advancing and appear along with the more severe symptoms that women tend to take note and visit a doctor.
Women who are at risk of ovarian cancer are those who have a genetic disposition, women who have attained menopause, infertility, women who are taking hormone replacement therapy and those who have undergone treatment for endometriosis with a drug called danazol.