Recent research as well as personal experiences have suggested that it is important for woman to know what are the symptoms of ovarian cancer, because this knowledge can improve prognosis and survival rates of the disease very significantly. Often the problem with ovarian cancer is that there are warning signs but most women don’t know enough about the symptoms of this cancer to accurately identify them.
What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer and why are they difficult to detect?
Clinicians as well as those who have experienced ovarian cancer close at hand report that the symptoms of ovarian cancer tend to “whisper”. This is to say that they give clues rather than sending out clear messages. In the case of breast cancer for instance, the clue may be quite clear in that a woman may feel a lump in her breast that alerts her to something being wrong.
However when the ovary, an invisible organ deep inside the body is similarly afflicted it may be quite impossible to detect that a problem such as a tumor exists.
And what are the symptoms of ovarian cancer may easily be mistaken for common female complaints: bloating, indigestion and nausea are among the most common symptoms and there are so generic in nature that most women don’t think to connect them with ovarian cancer at all.
Then there is a further problem with detecting ovarian cancer: There exists no definitive method of screening for ovarian cancer either that is both reliable and accurate. The way that a routine pap smear will help to detect cervical cancer in the very early stages, there is no such methodology for detecting ovarian cancer.
What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer that women should look for?
One of the main problems with detecting ovarian cancer symptoms is the fact that the disease may be largely asymptomatic in the early stages. When there are symptoms they are usually subtle and non specific: pelvic pain, abdominal bloating, urinary urgency, abdominal mass, tiredness, constipation are the most common symptoms.
Urinary urgency, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite or difficulty eating are some of the other symptoms.
The thing that clinicians urge women to watch out for is any changes in the body; to listen when the body “speaks” to them. The important thing is to know what are the symptoms of ovarian cancer, focus on good eating habits, and look for and report any bodily changes to the doctor.
Know the risk factors
This is another significant facet of ovarian cancer detection: women who seen to be higher risk of the disease should be extra vigilant and should also undergo screening procedures such as blood tests and trans-vaginal ultrasounds, clinicians suggest.
Genetic tests to identify faulty genes (such as the mutation of the BRCA gene) that put a woman more at risk can also be done to help identify a woman’s ovarian cancer risk. Then, armed with the knowledge of what are the symptoms of ovarian cancer, she may well be able to arrest the progress of this deadly disease in time to improve her prognosis and survival rate.