Ovarian cancer was once considered a silent killer because it is often not detected until it has spread to other areas of the body, making it more difficult to treat. But medical experts say it should be considered more of a “disease that whispers,” since many women do exhibit symptoms before the cancer spreads. Recognizing those symptoms can be lifesaving.
Unlike other female cancers, such as those of the breast, uterine and cervix, there are no screenings for early detection of ovarian cancer. Thus, only about 20 percent are diagnosed early. If treated early, a woman’s odds of five-year survival are 94 percent. And recent studies show that a third of women with the disease live a decade or longer.
The once-mysterious symptoms of ovarian cancer can be attributed to several different problems. Women should contact their doctors if new symptoms arise. Symptoms of the disease also tend to occur frequently, such as every day or every other day and at least a dozen times a month. They also are more severe when linked to ovarian cancer.
The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer include
- bloating or swollen abdomen
- increased abdominal size
- urinary frequency, urgency or difficulty to urinate
- problems eating, such as feeling full quickly after a meal
- constipation and/or diarrhea
- pelvic pain or pressure
- pain anywhere in the abdomen
- vaginal bleeding
- back pain
- painful sex
- weight loss
- changes in menstruation
Ovarian cancer can also develop quickly, thus women are advised to keep up with their annual well-woman visits and pelvic exams.
Ovarian cancer can be caused by mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 – the so-called breast cancer genes. Other factors include endometriosis, obesity, early onset of periods or late menopause, and not having children.
Women who have used talcum powder on their genitals for personal hygiene are also at an increased risk of developing the disease. Small particles of talc have been found to travel up the uterus through the fallopian tubes and into the ovaries. Lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of talc-containing products, such as Johnson & Johnson, claiming the companies knew the products increase ovarian cancer risk but the companies failed to warn women of these risks.
Source: Fox News