Know the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is notoriously difficult to diagnose in early stages because the symptoms it causes are nonspecific and may be very mild. It is important to listen to your body and to see a physician if you experience persistent symptoms that do not respond to any efforts to manage them. Be alert to these common signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Bloating
Abdominal bloating is very common with ovarian cancer. You may notice that your clothing doesn’t fit as comfortably, despite maintaining your normal weight. You may also notice that your abdomen appears fuller and rounder than before.

Although many different things can cause abdominal bloating, including indigestion and water weight gain, bloating that is persistent or that gets worse should be evaluated by a physician to determine the cause.

Changes in appetite
In the early stages of ovarian cancer, many patients find that they lose their appetites and become full very quickly while eating. Some people struggle to eat at all. Everyone’s appetite fluctuates from time to time, but having trouble eating for an extended period of time could indicate ovarian cancer.

Talk to your physician if you have a persistent loss of appetite. Additionally, consider seeing your physician if you experience unexpected weight loss. This could indicate that you have been eating less, even if you aren’t aware of the changes in your appetite.

Pelvic pain
If a tumor is growing on your ovaries, it could put pressure on other parts of your abdominal cavity. As a result, you may feel pain and pressure in your pelvic region. You may also experience pain elsewhere in your abdomen.

Pain associated with ovarian cancer may ache like menstrual cramps, or it may be sharp. This pain and pressure may also extend to your lower back.

Keep in mind that Pap smears do not test for ovarian cancer, so being knowledgeable about your symptoms is your best level of defense. MountainView Hospital is pleased to offer comprehensive cancer diagnosis and care at our oncology unit in Las Vegas. For a referral to a women’s services specialist or more information about our cancer treatment program, call us at (702) 962-5021.

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