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WARNING SIGNS

Know the Symptoms

 

It may seem unfair that it is left to us to self-diagnose, but until medicine comes up with a good test for ovarian cancer, we must be vigilant and pay attention when our bodies whisper a warning to us. If your body is telling you that “something is just not right,” fly to your gynecologist and be a pushy patient. A Pap smear tests for cervical cancer, only a biopsy confirms a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. 
 

Symptoms do not always mean you have ovarian cancer. But it’s a good idea to discuss them with your health care provider if they:
 

  • Are new symptoms

  • Last more than a few weeks

  • Occur more than 12 times a month

 

Anecdotally, many women have reported the details on how they felt prior to diagnosis:

  • Fatigue: A previously fit women started getting winded when walking up stairs or on hills; another reported the desire to go to bed at five in the afternoon.  Still another described being unable to do a fitness class that she had normally completed with ease.

  • Bloating and Gas: Many women reported that their pants got tight, or that they noticed that their body had taken on a new shape. Gas pains can be an alert, too. A clever lady described hers as “gas bubbles with sharp pointy corners.”

  • Bladder pressure. “I felt like I had a lighter version of a urinary tract infection.”

  • Out of cycle bleeding or bleeding during sex.

  • Change in libido.

  • Slender poop. No, really, – a tumor can crowd the digestive tract, and poops slim down to fit.  Some ladies have also described a feeling of incomplete evacuation.

  • Thinning hair.  This seems to be a rare symptom, but recognized.


Some women lived with these symptoms for years before they were diagnosed. If you have experienced one or more of these symptoms, go to the doctor and be a pushy patient.

Follow the Experts

MD Anderson Cancer Center lists the following as ovarian cancer symptoms:

 

  • General abdominal discomfort or pain (gas, indigestion, pressure, swelling, bloating, cramps)

  • Bloating and/or a feeling of fullness, even after a light meal

  • Nausea, diarrhea, constipation or frequent urination

  • Unexplained weight loss or gain

  • Loss of appetite

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding

  • Unusual fatigue

  • Back pain

  • Pain during sex

  • Menstrual changes

These symptoms do not always mean you have ovarian cancer, but it’s a good idea to discuss them with your health care provider if they:

  • Are new symptoms

  • Last more than a few weeks

  • Occur more than 12 times a month