What are the signs of ovarian cancer? Are you worried that you unknowingly have the condition? With more than 22,240 cases of women having been diagnosed with the disease in this year alone, it is not a surprise that women everywhere feel the need to educate themselves on the matter. Many of these women also feel the urge to find a way to detect whether they have ovarian cancer or not. After all knowing is half the battle, and an early detection would perhaps give them a bigger chance to fully recover.
Understanding symptoms related to ovarian cancer
Unfortunately, however, detecting ovarian cancer is not as easy as one would think. Yes, despite the advances in modern medicines and surgical techniques, ovarian cancer remains one of the diseases with high mortality rate. This is partly due to the fact that the ovaries almond-shaped organs are so small and since they are located deep within the cavity of our abdominal area on either side of our uterus, early detection is nearly impossible.
While early stage ovarian cancer rarely can be detected, advanced stage ovarian cancer may show a few non-specific symptoms. These symptoms are often mistaken as a benign and common conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. See the following list of symptoms to find out:
- Extreme discomfort or pain in the abdominal and pelvic areas
- Persistent abdominal swelling or bloating
- Feeling full fairly quickly when eating
- Constipation or abrupt changes in your bowel habits
- Unexplained, rapid weight loss
- Extreme and persistent fatigue
- Feeling the need to urinate more urgently and frequently
Worried about yourself because you have been dealing with similar symptoms? For your peace of mind, immediately set up an appointment with your doctor.
The importance of regular screening test for women
While currently there is no such thing as reliable screening test to detect early-stage ovarian cancer, women – more so those who cancer in their family history, will still benefit from getting the following screening tests on a regular basis:
- Pelvic examination
Women of age 18-year old and older must have an annual vaginal examination. This mandatory pelvic test should be received on a yearly basis, and those who are older than 35-years old must also take rectovaginal examination as well.
- Transvaginal sonography
This particular ultrasound screening test is conducted using a small-sizes instrument that is strategically placed to cater to those who have an abnormal pelvic system or have a high risk of cancer.
- CA-125 Test
This blood test should also be taken regularly in order to determine the level of protein which is produced by cancerous cells – the CA-125. When the test results in an increase in the blood of women who are at high risk for this type of cancer, the doctors will be able to determine the next tests to confirm whether or not you are silently suffering from ovarian cancer.
When the aforementioned screening tests come back positive, you must immediately consult with gynecologic oncologist. They will confirm whether or not you have ovarian cancer with CT Scan and evaluation. While the answer to what are the signs of ovarian cancer doesn’t yield definite answer, with biopsy you’ll be able to find the answer right away.