Cancer is a growing concern in the world, but ovarian cancer has been called the “Silent Killer”, like a lot of other cancers too is doesn’t show symptoms until its often too late to be successfully treated.
When the symptoms do show they are quite non-specific and can seem to be other not so serious things going on, we hope that the more people that are aware of some of these signs, could prompt them to see a medical professional and potentially could save lives!
These are some early warning signs that could prompt you to see a medical professional and potentially save your life, but please remember not to jump to conclusions and always seek a professional opinion.
First of all, if you have these symptoms don’t panic, it could be something or it could be nothing at all!
The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance says that for everyone, a hundred women whose symptoms match those of ovarian cancer, only one would actually have early-stage ovarian cancer, but it’s better to know than to not know, what if, in fact, you were the one in the one hundred?
If you genuinely feel that you’re not feeling so good then, of course, see the help of a medical professional sooner rather than later.
Statistics tell us that just 20% of women with ovarian cancer are actually diagnosed early, and unfortunately, this is when the disease is at the stage when it’s most curable.
The most common type of ovarian cancer includes epithelial tumors, which form in the thin layer of tissue that covers the outside of the ovaries.
These tumors occur in 90 percent of cases. The rarer types are stromal tumors, which develop inside the ovaries’ supporting tissue, and germ cell tumors, which begin in the egg-producing cells.
If you have any of these symptoms then make a list and write them down, then when you visit the doctor you can discuss them with him, and of course, you will remember everything too!
The 7 most important warning signs to look out for, in combination, are:
#1 Lower back pain
This is especially important to be aware of if the pain comes from, or goes to, the pelvic region.
#2 Abdominal bloating or swelling
If the size of your abdomen increases and you feel altogether bloated like your full of gas then this is a sign. You might also think that some of the clothes feel tighter around your waist and hips. You could also notice that some clothes feel tighter around your waist and hips.
#3 Pain when you make love
This is something to note along with any other symptoms you may or may not have.
#4 Constipation or other changes in your bowel movements
Anything different from your normal routine or pain, remember to write down anything that you think is not normal for you to discuss with your doctor.
#5 Pelvic pain
You could experience discomfort or pain in your pelvic region, and sometimes also in your abdomen. If your pain is constant then don’t dismiss it, write it down so you remember to also discuss this with your doctor, pain is a signal to tell you something so ignore it at your peril!
#6 Fatigue and/or Lethargy
Feeling tired, more than usual without any other particular explanation, having low energy levels and feeling lethargic can be an important indicator to tell you there is something going on that you need to take notice of.
#7 Loss of appetite/eating less than you would normally
Also, watch out for any signs of unexplained weight loss. Losing weight can be a good thing, but also it can be a signal about something else going on in the body.
Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer
The exact cause of ovarian cancer is not something we know a lot about, however, there are some things that can increase your chances of getting it, so they are worth knowing!
Women over 50 are at greater risk of ovarian cancer, and around 50% of ovarian cancers are diagnosed in women over 60. That, of course, does not mean that it can’t also occur in younger women too.
If you have a family history of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, or other types of cancer then you are at an increased risk of getting it also.
The Mayo Clinic says that the genes that are responsible for increasing the risk of ovarian cancer are called breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) and breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA2).
These were initially tied to breast cancer, although, now been discovered to be responsible for ovarian cancer.
Women who have never given birth are at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Women who started menstruating very early, so, before the age of 12, and/or reached menopause late, after the age of 50 are in the higher risk category too.
As well as the number of periods you go through too, this is linked to your odds of getting ovarian cancer. For example, women who have more kids have a smaller risk of developing the disease.
Other risk factors
Not surprisingly these include smoking, obesity, use of an intrauterine device, as well as having polycystic ovary syndrome.
There is no reliable screening method for ovarian cancer, so it’s crucial that you don’t hesitate to see a medical professional if you have symptoms or concerns.
Get yourself checked out if you need to, get examined and don’t let your doctor dismiss you before he examines you or arranges for you to be examined properly.