Cancer is an umbrella term for a large spectrum of diseases that can affect any part of the body. It is also one of the leading causes of death worldwide – more than 8.2 million of people die from cancer each year. And yet, cancer is also curable for the most part – if detected and diagnosed early, almost every case of cancer can be cured, including ovarian cancer. For this reason, it’s crucial we try to stay on top of our health and always be ready to look for early symptoms of things that may have gone wrong.
Ovarian cancer happens when cells in the ovary start behaving abnormally. They begin multiplying out of control, and as a result, a tumor is formed. This tumor is what we’re trying to discover on time, because if left undiagnosed and untreated, it can not only grow, but spread to other parts of the body as well.
Generally, ovarian cancer is more common among women over 55, or those who’ve been through menopause. However, younger women (early twenties and beyond) are not immune to ovarian cancer either. In fact, more than 22,000 women receive an ovarian cancer diagnosis a year (2017), and around 14,000 die from it.
You may be wondering why is the death rate so high? It’s because ovarian cancer is, unfortunately, usually discovered when it’s in stage 3 or 4 already, which leaves little time to do anything. And the reason for this? Women usually don’t notice any ovarian cancer symptoms until it’s too late.
So arm yourself with knowledge about ovarian cancer – if not for yourself, then for your friends and family.
Early Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
- Lower abdominal pain
Feeling a little bit of pain in the lower abdomen and pelvic region while on your period is normal and perfectly fine. But if that pain doesn’t seem to go away even after your period ends, or is significantly worse than usual, it’s time to visit the doctor. Frequent abdominal, pelvic and lower back pain could be a sign of ovarian cancer.
- Persistent bloating
If you find yourself bloated most of the time, it could be a sign of trouble. If you’ve been eating well, hydrating properly and are not on your period but you’re still bloated, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor. This is especially worrying if bloating persists for weeks.
- Frequent Need to Urinate
If you’ve been drinking your liquids as usual but you feel the need to urinate much more than you normally do – say every single hour, or you’re ok one minute and then you urgently need to go the next – talk to your doctor. One of the ovarian cancer symptoms is an increased urge to urinate.
- Decrease in Appetite
If you notice a decrease in your appetite or you feel like you can’t eat as much as you normally do for longer than two weeks, consult your doctor. When women develop ovarian cancer, fluid buildup starts happening that may not only make you feel bloated, but also cause an obvious loss of appetite.