Ovarian cancer rarely has noticeable symptoms when it is in its earliest stages. As the cancer progresses, subtle symptoms begin to appear, but they still may not be noticed right away, or they may be blamed on other common conditions, such as constipation or an irritable bowel.
The symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- abdominal bloating or swelling
- pain in the abdomen or pelvis
- difficulty eating, or feeling full quickly
- lack of appetite
- feeling an urgent need to urinate
- needing to urinate frequently
- change in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhea)
- change in menstrual periods
- vaginal bleeding between periods
- back pain
- weight gain or loss
Although the symptoms of ovarian cancer may be vague, particularly in the early stages, they are usually fairly constant and represent a change from how you normally feel. Symptoms also worsen as the cancer progresses.
If you experience any of these symptoms every day, or almost every day, for more than two to three weeks, speak with your doctor and specifically ask if you could have ovarian cancer. If it is ovarian cancer, the earlier we can diagnose it, the better the chances for an effective treatment.