Out of all cancer-related deaths among females, ovarian cancer ranks as the fifth leading cause. But as is the case with practically all cancers, the earlier it is diagnosed the better a woman’s long-term survival chances become. Unfortunately, that’s kind of the tricky part when it comes to ovarian cancer, due in part to the ovaries’ location deep within the body, and the generally vague (and sometimes even non-existent) symptoms associated with its early stages. Perhaps the two most important keys to early diagnosis of such diseases are familiarity with both your body and your family’s medical history.
Potential Early Signs Of Ovarian Cancer
Again, many of the early ovarian cancer symptoms may seem minor or completely unrelated to your ovaries. Since most of all women diagnosed are over 55 years old, early signs may also simply be attributed to the natural aging process. You may drop or gain some weight, feel tired and run down, lose your appetite, or experience unexpected vaginal bleeding or pain in your pelvic region. Your bathroom habits might also change, or you may start feeling heartburn, nausea, or full or bloated after what would normally be considered a light meal.
If these symptoms are out of the ordinary and/or inconsistent with your body’s normal behavior, have continued for more than a few weeks with no relief, and especially if you have a family history of cancer, schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as you can. As mentioned earlier, by the time these types of symptoms start appearing, your ovarian tumor may have already grown large enough start pressing on your bladder or rectum to create the discomfort. There are a number of different tests your doctor can perform, including internal exams, sonography, and a blood test to check for tumor markers. By being in tune with your body and recognizing some subtle changes, you give yourself the best chance to catch ovarian cancer as soon as possible.