8 Myths & Facts About Early Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer in women in the United States. The ovaries are located deep inside a woman’s body, which can make ovarian cancer very difficult to detect. Symptoms may not show up for a long time, leading healthcare professionals to dub ovarian cancer, “The Silent Killer.” Only 20 percent of women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer early, but that can change. Because ovarian cancer is difficult to detect, it is essential for patients to pay attention to any odd symptoms they may experience. While one or two symptoms may not mean that cancer is present, several symptoms that occur together may indicate a problem. Ninety percent of women who are diagnosed in stage I of the illness are cured. Here are valuable myths and facts patients should know regarding the early warning sings of ovarian cancer. 

8 Active Myths | Suggest a Myth
FACT: Women should balance possible symptoms with risk factors for ovarian cancer.

Women should balance possible symptoms with risk factors for ovarian cancer. Risk factors include family history, being older than 60 years of age, smoking, obesity, and some medications.

MYTH: Patients don’t need to be concerned if symptoms come and go.

These symptoms can be attributed to many different illnesses, and they can be experienced together or at different times. For example, pelvic or abdominal pain may come and go, along with weight changes and energy levels. Women need to seek treatment even when symptoms disappear for a couple of days and are back again.

MYTH: Abdominal bloating or swelling only happens with women who are menstruating.

For women at risk of ovarian cancer, abdominal swelling or bloating may be due to the formation of tumors. The size of women’s abdomens increase, and they feel full of gas. Clothes may also feel tighter without weight gain.

MYTH: The presence of ovarian cancer does not effect energy levels.

Feeling overly tired and low in energy can be a signal that something more is going on than just regular fatigue. This can be a symptom of a serious illness, like ovarian cancer.

MYTH: Changes in bowel movements should be ignored.

Women who may have ovarian cancer should pay close attention to any changes in bowel movements. Dark and tarry stools or pale and loose stools could suggest that cancer could be present. Constipation could also indicate a problem.

FACT: Unexplained weight loss may seem welcome at first, but it could suggest the presence of ovarian cancer.

Loss of appetite or feeling full quickly when eating can also signal that something is wrong.

FACT: Urgent and frequent urination may be a sign that something serious is going on.

As women age, their pelvic muscles weaken and they experience a frequent and urgent need to pee. However, if it gets bad enough that women can hardly get to the toilet in time, it may be an indication to get checked out by a doctor.

FACT: Pain in the abdomen and pelvic areas are common in patients with ovarian cancer.

Low back pain, or radiating pain from the pelvis, may indicate the presence of ovarian tumors. Gnawing pain in the abdomen may also persist, along with pain during sexual activity.