At present time, cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. As a matter of fact, it is responsible for 30% of the deaths in Canada alone, more than any other disease or possible cause.
According to the Canadian and American Cancer Societies, ovarian cancer, in particular, is estimated to be responsible for 2,800 new cases and 1,750 deaths in Canada last year and 22,280 new cases and 14,240 deaths in the U.S. in 2016.
What is ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer occurs when the cells of the ovaries develop tumors which then become malignant.
Known as the silent killer due to what seems to be a lack of symptoms and also the difficulty of being detected in annual screenings, this kind of cancer most commonly affects post-menopausal women. However, more and more cases are now occurring in women in their 30’s and 40’s, and maybe even younger.
It is important to mention that if this cancer is detected early enough your chances of survival are drastically improved. So, it’s important to pay attention to your body and have regular check-ups with your doctor.
Unfortunately, currently, there isn’t any reliable test. CA125 blood tests may give false negatives while smear tests are not capable of picking up malignant cells.
Another problem is that many of the symptoms present are often mistaken for other diseases, such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which leaves these early stage tumors undiagnosed until they reach stage 3 when they become lumps in the abdomen and pelvic area.
4 Symptoms that may be signs of Ovarian cancer
If you find yourself constantly getting bloated, (especially for durations of more than three weeks), and you never were before, this could be a sign that cancerous tumors are forming and growing.
Lower abdominal and pelvic pain
Although menstrual cramps and pain during menstruation are normal, persistent pain that lasts for more than three weeks can be a sign of ovarian cancer. Pre-menopausal women should be especially careful, as these symptoms are often easily passed off for period pain.
Difficulty eating/feeling full quickly
If you notice a drastic drop in appetite for more than three weeks, discuss this with your doctor. Even though it could be just a sign of a long list of stomach, intestine, and bowel issues, it could also indicate cancer.
Increased need to urinate
In case you find yourself visiting the toilet much more often than earlier, without any changes regarding the liquid intake, it is very likely that you have early stages of ovarian cancer. Another sign that indicates ovarian cancer is an urgent need to pee and inability to hold it.
Every one of these symptoms are easily, and quite often are, mistaken for problems and diseases associated with the Gastrointestinal tract. If you find that you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and you never have before, it’s important to keep track of their frequency and persistence.
If symptoms don’t dissipate after three weeks or longer, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss getting checked for ovarian cancer.
Remember that monitoring our health and learning to recognize the symptoms is the key to early detection and an increased chance of survival.