Cancer is the leading reason of death in almost all countries around the world. In Canada, more than 30% of all deaths are caused by cancer. In 2016, there were 2800 new cases of ovarian cancer and 1750 deaths in Canada, and 14,240 deaths and 22,280 new cases in the United States.
What is Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian cancer grows when the cells of the ovaries form tumors that become malignant. It is called the silent killer because it shows little or no symptoms, which are difficult to detect with screening. According to the statistics, it is more common in post-menopausal women, but sometimes it can affect younger women between 30 and 40. A recent research reveals that early cancer detection increases the chances of survival, so women should go to regular check-ins.
Currently, there isn’t any reliable test. CA125 blood tests can give false negatives while smear tests are not capable of picking up malignant cells. Sometimes symptoms are mistaken for those related to other diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome. So, the tumor gets diagnosed at stage 3, when it is too late.
4 Symptoms that may be signs of Ovarian Cancer
1. Persistent Bloating
Frequent and consistent bloating, that lasts for more than three weeks, can indicate a cancerous tumor growth.
2. Lower Abdominal and Pelvic Pain
Although pain and menstrual spasms during menstruation are normal, constant pain that goes on for more than three weeks can be a symptom of ovarian cancer. Pre-menopausal women should be very careful because these symptoms are easily passed off for period pain.
3. Difficulty eating/feeling full quickly
A decrease in appetite that lasts for more than three weeks can be a sign of various ailments, among which bowel issues, intestine, and stomach issues are the most common. But, it can also be a sign of cancer, so don’t forget to consult your doctor.
4. Increased need to urinate
If you notice that you need to go to the toilet more often than before, without any changes in the liquid intake, it can be a sign of early stages of ovarian cancer. Another sign of ovarian cancer is an urgent need to pee and inability to wait.
Some of these symptoms can be easily mistaken for issues and diseases with the gastrointestinal tract. So, if you notice any of them, it is important to monitor their frequency and persistence. If they don’t change in a few weeks, immediately consult your doctor and get checked.
Monitoring our health and learning to identify the symptoms is crucial to early detection and an increased chance of survival.