Early Detection Saves Lives
One in 72 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in her lifetime. It affects mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. With early detection about 94% will survive longer than 5 years after diagnosis. Currently, only 20% of ovarian cancer is caught early. Estimates for ovarian cancer in the United States for 2013: about 22,240 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed and about 14,230 deaths will occur. It ranks fifth as the cause of cancer deaths in women, and accounts for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. (Source: American Cancer Society)
Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
- Abdominal pressure, bloating, or discomfort
- Nausea, indigestion, or gas
- Urinary frequency, constipation, or diarrhea
- Abnormal bleeding
- Unusual fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Shortness of breath
Take action if any symptoms last more than 2-3 weeks.
Consult a healthcare professional if any symptoms persist and they are unusual for you. Experts recommend a pelvic/rectal exam at a minimum, a transvaginal ultrasound and a CA125 test may also be necessary. Pap smears test only for cervical cancer. If ovarian cancer is suspected ask to see a gynecologic oncologist.
95% of patients with ovarian cancer report symptoms, most commonly:
- abdominal (77%)
- gastrointestinal (70%)
- pain (58%)
- constitutional (50%)
- urinary (34%)
- pelvic (26%)
Symptoms of ovarian cancer can occur in the abdomen even though the ovaries are in the pelvis. Do not ignore persistent and unexplained abdominal symptoms. Ask your practitioner to perform a pelvic/rectal exam at a minimum or refer you to someone who can. Ask your practitioner about current status of blood marker and transvaginal ultrasound for detection of ovarian cancer.
Awareness Saves Lives: Be Out Loud. Click here to learn more about ovarian cancer.