Ovarian cancer is a silent disease. Most symptoms are detected only after the cancer is in its advanced stages.
It is therefore important to see a medical professional as soon as possible if you notice symptoms of abdominal swelling, urinary problems, digestive problems or weight loss. Medical testing for diagnosing this condition includes ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs, or chest X-rays.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine highlights other related symptoms including:
- Pressure in the pelvic area
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Vaginal hemorrhaging between periods
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Abnormal periods
- Unexplainable back pain that does not improve
- Gases, nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite
- More frequent urge or need to urinate
- Changes in the color of the vulva (rashes, ulcers, warts)
- Vulvar itching or burning
When this type of cancer is detected early, when it is still localized, its survival rate after five years is 93%.
Only 15% of cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed in its early stages.
The official website for World Ovarian Cancer Day, which has been held each year on May 8 since 2013, emphasizes the importance of family history as a very representative risk factor. People who have a family history should pay greater attention to the described symptoms or consider preventative surgeries such as the removal of their ovaries and fallopian tubes.