Ovarian cancer affects more women than you would think. There are links to genetics but not all cases are hereditary cases. There are a number of different ovarian cancer stages that you need to be aware of to be able to determine just how bad you cancer is and the chances of survival.
The signs of ovarian cancer
The best way to catch the cancer in one of the earlier stages is to know the signs and symptoms of it. There are some signs but they are not always obvious; there are also times when the early signs mimic those of other common problems – or just general hormonal changes.
One of the most common symptoms is when there is a pain in the abdomen. This can also pass into the pelvis, legs or the back. This is a common problem for many women during “that time of the month” and for many other problems, so it is not always commonly thought to be cancer.
Bloated stomachs and a feeling of nausea or gas are also common in those suffering from early ovarian stages. Constipation or diarrhea may also be noted, but, again, these link to many other problems. Fatigue for no reason is also a common sign.
There are also some symptoms that are not so common for early cancer. These include frequent urination, heavy periods or periods after menopause and trouble with breathing.
Because all of the symptoms are similar to other problems, it is important to speak to a doctor. He will also be able to help with diagnosing your ovarian cancer stages if you do have it.
Diagnosing ovarian cancer stages
This is something that your doctor will do and is first done with a physical exam. Your doctor will want to check for any tumors that may be around your abdomen and will also want to know if there is a buildup of any fluid anywhere. A pelvic exam will also need to be done to be able to check for any lumps that are forming down there.
You will usually find that you have a Pap smear to help to collect some of the cells to check for abnormalities. However, the Pap smear is usually used to test for cervical cancer and not ovarian cancer.
These will not be able to determine the ovarian cancer stages that you may be in. You will need to go through a variety of tests, leading up to a biopsy, which is when the fluid and cells are taken for a closer look. The tissues will be removed and the test for cancer will be one.
A pathologist will then be able to put the cells under a microscope to be able to check for the ovarian cancer stages. The testing is done in three grades, to determine how abnormal the cells are. Grade 1 is the lowest and means that the cells are unlikely to grow. This is good as it means that there are chances the cancer can be removed easily. Grade 3 cells are the worst as it means that the cancer is likely to spread to other parts of the body.