Doctors once labeled ovarian cancer as “the silent killer” because it develops without warning.
Now, according to USAToday.com, the American Cancer Institute and other major medical associations have identified and agreed upon early warning signs of ovarian.
Some possible symptoms of ovarian cancer are bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, urinating frequently, and changes in eating patterns like feeling full quicker. If any combination of symptoms persists for several weeks, it could be a sign of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is the most deadly type of cancer expected to kill around 15,000 women this year.
Barbara Goff, a gynecological oncologist from the University of Washington, advises women to see a doctor if the signs are severe, new, and continue for more than two or three weeks.
“There has been a myth about ovarian cancer being silent and people saying there is nothing you can do about it. Well that’s simply not true anymore.” Goff said on CBSNews.com. The symptoms could also be associated with irritable bowel syndrome or other health conditions. The symptoms are more prevalent in women with cancer and women who have experienced overactive bladders or bloating during menstruation may not be at risk.
“The agreement on common symptoms of ovarian cancer hopefully will lead to earlier diagnosis when a cure is more likely,” Goff stated on HealthDigest.com. We know that when women are diagnosed in stage I of the disease, it is more curable.” Doctors predict more phone calls from women concerned over their symptoms. Only twenty-per cent of women are diagnosed early and eighty per cent are diagnosed in later stages leaving little chance for survival. Doctors may not recognize the cancer in early stages and women can have the signs for six to twelve months according to Goff’s studies.
During an evaluation, doctors may ask the patient’s history of cancer in the family and if they tested positive for genetic mutations. If more treatment is needed, women are advised to see a specialist in gynecological cancers. Doctors use ultrasounds, pelvic exams, or a blood test called CA-125 to test for cancer. None of these tests is proven accurate. Dr. Stuart Pancer, a gynecologist in Atlanta, said on CBS news, “In premenopausal women, it’s almost useless. So many other factors can elevate it.” Ovarian cancer ranks fifth among the list of deadly cancers in women. For more information, visit www.ovarian.org.
Liz Szabo, “Ovarian Cancer Has Early Warning Signs”
CBS news, “Early Warning Signs For Ovarian Cancer”
National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, “First National Consensus on Ovarian Cancer Symptoms”