The signs and symptoms for ovarian cancer are nonspecific and are the same symptoms that other conditions and diseases have associated with them. These other conditions and diseases that have the same symptoms and signs as ovarian cancer are digestive and bladder disorders. Misdiagnosis with these other conditions and diseases is not uncommon before a woman finally receives the true diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
There is one common clue that seems to direct doctors to ovarian cancer investigation and that is that the symptoms tend to worsen as opposed to digestive disorders where the same symptoms tend to come and go, or they are present only after eating certain foods or in certain situations. Women who have ovarian cancer usually experience constant and gradually worsening symptoms.
- Abdominal pressure, feeling full.
- Bloating or swelling of the abdomen
- Pelvic discomfort or pain
- Urinary urgency or having to go frequently
Symptoms Less Common
- Gas, indigestion or nausea
- Bowel Habits that are changing with no apparent reason such as having diarrhea or constipation
- Bladder habits that change into more frequent or urgent need to urinate
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss or weight gain that is unexplained
- Increased abdominal size without explaination (overeating)
- Pain during intercourse
- Persistent lack of energy
- Pain in the lower back
Diagnosis for ovarian cancer may take time (3 – 6 months) from the time the woman first reports the symptoms to her doctor.
When the cancer is in its early stage, the woman may not experience symptoms. It is important that any woman who experiences any signs or symptoms of anything going on that is not of a normal nature should report the signs and symptoms to her doctor.
A woman may experience things that she is aware of as being unusual and may be tempted to put off mentioning them for fear of it being nothing and then feeling foolish. The following are some of the signs and symptoms that a woman may easily overlook or attribute to other causes:
- Cramps in her belly
Pain in the pelvis or lower back
Abnormal bleeding from her vagina, this symptom is especially important in women who are menopausal and are not using any hormonal medications.
Abnormal discharge of any kind coming from the vagina, such as mucus that is tinged with blood.
Pain or any bleeding during sex
Not being able to eat normally because you feel full really fast or have nausea when you try to eat
Feeling a lump in your belly or having a bigger belly than is normal for you