Dr. Sanket Mehta

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4 Ovarian Cancer Symptoms You Should Not Ignore

Ovarian cancer is sometimes referred to as silent cancer since the ovaries are located deep inside the pelvis, and the earliest signs are typically vague and non-specific.

4 Ovarian Cancer Symptoms You Should Not Ignore

Introduction

Ovarian cancer is sometimes referred to as silent cancer since the ovaries are located deep inside the pelvis, and the earliest signs are typically vague and non-specific. As a result, cancer typically stays unnoticed until it has progressed across the abdomen or other parts of the body. 

In its later stages, survival chances for ovarian cancer collapse when it has spread to distant organs because of the limited efficacy of therapies. Unfortunately, more than 70% of women with ovarian cancer are discovered to have the disease at an advanced stage, which results in a much worse prognosis.

It becomes crucial to pay attention to your body and immediately consult an expert if you notice any symptoms. Let’s talk about symptoms of ovarian cancer.

What is ovarian cancer?

When cells in your body grow abnormally, they can form a mass or a tumor and result in cancer of that organ. For instance, ovarian cancer develops when this abnormal development arises in the ovary.

Every cell has its life cycle, including growth, division, and replacement. On the other hand, cells may occasionally overgrow or stop dying when they should. This aberrant cell development may create issues, most often making a tumor. A tumor may be cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign).

A benign tumor cannot spread throughout the body. Instead, it remains stationary and gradually expands over time. In most cases, benign tumors pose no immediate threat to your health. However, malignant tumors are more aggressive. These spread quickly and may infiltrate other body sections, producing even more difficulties. For example, ovarian cancer occurs when malignant (cancerous) cells form in the ovaries.

Let’s now talk about ovarian cancer causes.

Causes

Ovarian cancer has no known cause; however, several risk factors might increase a woman’s risk of acquiring the illness. The following are some of the risk factors:

  • Age: Ovarian cancer is most frequent in women between 50 and 60.
  • Hormone therapy: Estrogen hormone replacement treatment (particularly in significant dosages or for a long time) may raise the risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Menstruation onset and menopause: Women who started menstruation at a young age and went through menopause later than typical had a higher risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Inherited gene changes: Ovarian cancer is caused by alterations in your genes that you inherit from your parents in a tiny proportion of cases. For example, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are two genes linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

If you come under any of these risk factors, it is vital to stay aware and look for any abnormal changes in the body. Let’s jump on our main topic; What ovarian cancer symptoms should you not ignore?

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Women may have a better chance of detecting — and treating — the condition early on if they recognize early symptoms of this cancer.

Some of these symptoms include:

Bloating

Bloating is an unpleasant sense of fullness in the stomach that almost every woman has experienced. While feeling bloated is common, particularly around your monthly cycle, persistent bloating that lasts for up to three weeks is not.

One of the most prevalent early indicators of ovarian cancer is feeling bloated and full all the time. Moreover, bloating followed by abdominal distension might indicate a problem.

Constipation

Irritable bowel syndrome, ovarian cancer, and stress and anxiety are connected to GI problems. Constipation is a typical GI symptom associated with ovarian cancer.

Any changes in your bowel movements should be noted. For example, acute constipation that is not eased by any therapies, in particular, might be a sign.

Prolonged Pain

One to three weeks of the stomach, pelvic pressure, and lower back pain may signal a problem. However, pain that is uncommon for you doesn’t come and go and can’t be easily attributed to other reasons, is an ovarian cancer sign.

If your discomfort goes away when you relax, your symptoms are stress-related. If you see a change in your pain after changing your food, it’s probably a GI problem.

Sadly, separating ovarian cancer symptoms from GI or stress-related disorders may be challenging. That’s why so many women visit so many specialists.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms and they aren’t going away despite your best efforts, see your physician about the following checks:

  • A GI assessment, which may involve a physical examination and GI testing (e.g., endoscopy, colonoscopy)
  • A pelvic examination
  • Blood Test
  • Ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI

Changes in Bladder Function

While women have urinary difficulties, such as discomfort or urgency when peeing, they usually assume they have a urinary tract infection. But, unfortunately, it is often the case.

However, bladder problems may also indicate a gynecologic or reproductive condition, such as ovarian cancer.

The following are some of the specific urine symptoms related to ovarian cancer:

  • Feeling pressure or pain in the bladder
  • Sudden, urgent need to urinate
  • Frequent urination

It’s an issue if these urine signs are unusual to you and linger for more than a few days. Inform your OB/GYN or primary care physician that you are worried about bladder problems and reproductive system difficulties.

If you notice any such signs or symptoms, do not ignore them. Consult an expert at the earliest and start your diagnosis.

Treatment Options for Ovarian Cancer

Following are the treatment options for ovarian cancer. 

  1. Surgery

Surgical procedures may include:

  • Salpingo-oophorectomy: The fallopian tubes and ovaries are removed during surgery.
  • Hysterectomy: The uterus is surgically removed.
  • Pelvic lymph node dissection: Several lymph nodes in the pelvic are removed.
  • Para-aortic lymphadenectomy: Lymph nodes around the aorta, the heart’s major artery, are removed.
  • Omentectomy: The omentum, a fatty tissue layer that covers organs in the lower gastrointestinal system, is removed.
  • Cytoreduction surgery or debulking: Surgical excision of the whole visible tumor, perhaps including the spleen and gastrointestinal organs.
  • Chemotherapy: Anticancer medications are used to destroy malignant cells. Chemotherapy operates by interfering with cancer cells’ capacity to grow and replicate in most circumstances. 
  • Immunotherapy: This method use medications or vaccinations to enhance the immune system’s natural defenses, allowing cancer cells to be killed. 

B. Radiation therapy:

High-energy X-rays or particles are used to eliminate cancer cells in this kind of cancer therapy.

Conclusion

Ovarian cancer can be severe if it is detected at an advanced stage. It has become a common cancer that affects many women every year.

There is no one test for ovarian cancer, so symptoms should not be overlooked. If you notice any symptoms, book an appointment and consult a cancer specialist.

You can book an appointment with our expert doctor to know more about ovarian cancer.

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