Ovarian cancer is an under-discussed cancer plaguing millions of women each year. In fact, approximately 22,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed annually, 13,000 of which will die.
Why are the numbers so high?
It’s simple: The initial symptoms of ovarian cancer are generally mild, so the disease typically goes undetected until it has already metastasized (spread) outside of the ovaries. That’s why this form of cancer has been nicknamed the cancer that whispers; only 24 percent of ovarian cancers are detected in the early stages.
Below is a list of those mild signs and symptoms that can be attributed to ovarian cancer:
Changes in Bowel Movements
A change in the consistency and frequency of bowel movements (e.g., constipation, diarrhea) could be a potential sign, either because the cancer has spread to the colon or there is pressure from fluid buildup in the area.
Persistent Pain in the Pelvis or Abdomen
Pain in the pelvis or abdomen that does not disappear after a couple of days is a serious issue and can be a sign of ovarian cancer or cysts.
Problems With Eating or Feeling Prematurely Full
Oddly, women with ovarian cancer have difficulty eating and feel full faster. This might be due to a disruption in the hormones that control the metabolism.
Spotting Between Periods
While spotting between periods could be a sign of several potential gynecological issues, it is also a telltale sign of ovarian cancer.
Swelling or Bloating in the Abdomen
Swelling occurs when fluid known as ascites becomes trapped in the abdominal cavity. It typically appears in more advanced stages of the disease.
An increased and frequent need to urinate is a sign that the cancer has formed. Sadly, it is often accredited to bladder disorders.
Just because ovarian cancer whispers, doesn’t mean we should. Raise your voice and raise awareness about this silent killer today.