According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 22,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and more than 14,000 will die from the disease every year. Although ovarian cancer accounts for only about 3% of all cancers in women, it is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women.
Because the symptoms for ovarian cancer are similar to less serious ailments, it is almost always detected in its latter, most deadly, stages. For this reason, it is often referred to as the "silent killer." However, by raising awareness of this disease among women, it does not have to remain silent nor does it have to be a killer. If it is detected and treated in its early stages, more than 90% of women will survive longer than 5 years. It is important to note that the Pap test does not detect ovarian cancer.
Here are the most common symptoms and signs of ovarian cancer:
- Bloating (a rounded appearance to the abdomen)
- Pelvic or abdominal pain, gas and/or indigestion
- Loss of appetite or a feeling of fullness, even after a light meal
- Urinary urgency and/or frequency
Women with ovarian cancer may also experience the following symptoms:
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Vaginal bleeding
- Shortness of breath
- Back Pain
- Pain with intercourse
If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms several times or more over a one-month period of time and the symptoms are new or unusual for you, you should consult with your physician, preferably a gynecologist.