Many people tend to think of cancer as a death sentence. Ovarian cancer is a silent killer with no visible symptoms in the early stages, but that doesn’t mean it’s not curable. The important thing is to catch it early before it spreads. When the symptoms do begin to show, they can be vague and easily confused with a number of other conditions. Oncology is a well-developed medical field and many cancers are curable with the right treatment at the right time. The healthy thing to do is to keep a balance between denial and hypochondria.
The good news is that there are a number of early warnings signs. Ovarian cancer symptoms only match actual early stage ovarian cancer 1% of the time. While there is no absolutely reliable detection method for early stage ovarian cancer, doctors make use of pelvic examinations, ultrasound scans and blood tests for genetic cancer markers to diagnose the illness. While scientists are busy working at fixing this gap in the medical field, it’s important for you to know and listen to your body. This guide will help you discover the risk factors and early warning signs.
While the cause of ovarian cancer is unknown, certain factors can increase your chances of it developing:
Age: Ovarian cancer tends to strike women over the age of 60 most, with over 50% of all occurrences affecting this age group. Women over the age of 50 are also at a higher risk, although age does not safeguard younger aged women from developing this cancer too, and cases are sometimes found in women in their 20s.
Family history: Genetics can increase the likelihood of a person developing ovarian cancer. A family history of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, or colon cancer strengthens your susceptibility to the illness. The genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, known as the breast cancer genes, were initially only linked to detecting breast cancer chances, but further research revealed that these genes also indicate ovarian cancer.
Period history: The number of periods an individual has during her lifetime has been shown to correlate with increased chances of the development of ovarian cancer. Women who began menstruating young, have never given birth, or reached menopause at a later age (after the age of 50) have been found to have a higher risk of getting ovarian cancer than those who experienced less periods of menstruation.
Certain medications: Research has found that having hormone replacement therapy after menopause, or enduring large doses of hormones for fertility treatment, can strengthen the chances of ovarian cancer developing.
Other risk factors that make ovarian cancer more likely include smoking, obesity, use of an IUD (intrauterine device) or polycystic ovary syndrome.
8 Early Warning Signs
One or several of these symptoms offer enough reason for rightful concern. If they persist for longer than two weeks, consult with your physician:
- Constipation: This can also include other changes in your bowel movements.
2. Pelvic pain: This can range from a feeling of discomfort in the pelvic area, to outright pain. It can also be felt in the abdomen.
3. Frequent, urgent urination: In older women, this can be a sign of weak pelvic floor muscles or a urinary tract infection, but this symptom can also be a sign of ovarian cancer.
4. Swollen or bloated abdomen: Your stomach increases in size, and you might feel particularly bloated along with being full of gas. This one is easily detectable when your clothes begin to feel tighter around your waist and hips, without weight gain elsewhere.
5. Fatigue: You’ll have slept enough but still feel overly tired and low in energy.
6. Pain from sexual activity.
7. Low back pain: This one is especially relevant if it starts in the pelvic area.
8. Loss of appetite, feeling full quickly: You might also observe unexplained weight loss.