The most common kind of ovarian cancer is the epithelial ovarian carcinoma, which occurs in 80-85% of patients. This cancer occurs in the epithelial cells of the ovaries. These cells are normally found on the surface of the ovaries.
The cancer begins from stage 1 and then gradually increases in severity to end stage or final stage ovarian cancer where the cancer spreads to other parts of the body outside of the abdominal cavity. Let us see some of the symptoms of end-stage ovarian cancer.
Symptoms of End Stage Ovarian Cancer
This is a condition, which leads to excess fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity. The cancer cells spread to the cells that coat the lining of the abdominal cavity.
This produces tremendous swelling. The fluid build up exerts enormous pressure on the diaphragm, chest cavity and the abdominal organs leading to a variety of symptoms such as anorexia, vomiting, pain and shortness of breath.
The cancel cells spread to the small and large intestines and causes adhesions on the surface of the intestine. These adhesions impede the muscular contractions of the intestines, which are responsible for passing of fluid and food through the intestines.
This can lead to bowel obstruction and severe constipation. The cancerous cells also invade healthy cells of the large and small intestine thus leading to timorous growths. These tumours block intestinal pathways and again cause large-scale obstruction in the intestines. This leads to severe pain, fatigue, irregular bowel movements and vomiting.
Last stage cancer spreads or metastasizes very fast to the other parts of the body. It spreads to the liver and may cause vomiting and shortness of breath. Fluid accumulation in the lungs may occur if the cancer spreads to the lungs. This may lead to difficulties in breathing.
Bone pain and joint pain may occur once the cancer spreads to the bones. Brain metastases cause convulsions, seizures, headache and muscle weakness. Generalized symptoms include muscle fatigue, which increases significantly. There is significant weight loss to the point of anorexia.
Urinary Incontinence and Urgency
Due to the increased pressure from the fluid accumulation, there is an increase in pressure on the urinary bladder. Many women may suffer from urinary incontinence, which occurs due to urinary urgency and an inability to control the urination. The frequency of the urine output may also increase significantly.
Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
Vaginal bleeding tends to intensify in last stage ovarian cancer. This is because of ovarian irritation and inflammation. Excessive vaginal bleeding increases a woman’s risk of developing anaemia with excessive weakness. The accompanying symptoms are fatigueand pale skin.
Painful Sexual Intercourse
The cancer tends to spread to the uterus as well as the walls of the vagina in some cases. All of this combines and can lead to extremely painful and uncomfortable sexual intercourse. Sexual pain is probably the first sign of ovarian cancer and should be shown to the doctor immediately.
The most predominant symptom of end stage ovarian cancer is excruciating abdominal pain, which gets worse as the disease advances. The only treatment in this case is early diagnosis and detection, which leads to a better prognosis for the patient.