9 Signs of ovarian cancer you should know
Ovarian cancer belongs to the top five most common cancers in women. It is even more common than cancer of the neck of the womb (cervical cancer). In most cases, women over 50 years are at risk of getting it, although it can occur in younger women also. There are various types of ovarian cancer, and very often the symptoms of ovarian cancer can be mistaken for symptoms of other non-cancerous conditions. Because of this case, there can be sometimes be a delay in diagnosis. Ovarian cancer actually represents a group of different tumors that arise from diverse types of tissues contained within the ovary. The most common type of ovarian cancer arises from the epithelial cells (the outside layer of cells) of the surface of the ovary. Other, rare types of ovarian cancer develop from the egg-forming germ cells or from the supporting tissue (stroma) of the organ. Benign (noncancerous) tumors and cysts are also found in the ovary and are much more common than ovarian cancers.
Women should know these following signs and should not ignore them as they can be at real risk.
1 A family history of ovarian cancer
Women who have one or more close relatives with the disease have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. Certain genes, such as the BRCA 1 and 2 genes, are inherited and are highly risky for development of ovarian cancer. A family history of breast or colon cancer also confers an increased risk for the development of ovarian cancer.
2 Abnormal vaginal bleeding
More than 90% of women diagnosed with endometrial cancer have irregular bleeding. For the older women who have undergone menopause, if they notice any bleeding (spotting included), the condition should be evaluated and they should immediately see their doctor. For women who are not in menopause – see your doctor if you experience bleeding between periods, heavy bleeding or bleeding during intercourse.
3 Pain in the pelvis or abdominal area
If you suffer from abdominal pain or discomfort, including gas, indigestion, pressure, bloating and cramps – all of these can be signs of ovarian cancer. Also, the constant pelvic pain or pressure can be a sign of endometrial cancer.
4 Vaginal discharge colored with blood
Women who experience bloody, dark or smelly discharge can be at risk of infection and shouldn’t panic right ahead. But sometimes, these symptoms can be a sign of cervical or endometrial cancer.
5 Constant fatigue
Stressful lifestyle can get everyone, but if you are a woman who is constantly feeling fatigued, this can be a red alert. Some rest usually is the best cure for fatigue. But if fatigue is interfering with your work or leisure activities, maybe it’s not your work and life which are the main reasons that you are tired. Immediately see your doctor.
6 Swollen legs
If your legs look or feel swollen for no apparent reason (especially if you are not standing most of the day) it may be a sign of cervical cancer. Typically, a swollen leg isn’t a sign of cancer unless you also have pain, discharge or other cervical cancer symptoms. Simply have in mind that this too can be one of the signs.
7 Loss of appetite or feeling full all the time
Changes in your daily appetite can be another sign that should concern you. If you feel sudden loss of appetite or if you feel full most of the time, this change can be a symptom. Don’t neglect it.
8 Constant feeling that you have to go the bathroom
If you need to use the bathroom all the time or you feel constant pressure on your bladder, you may have a sign of ovarian cancer. Though, do not panic if you have started drinking more liquids or if you’re pregnant. Take note if you also feel full, have abdominal pain and experience bloating.
9 Childbearing and menstruation
Women who have never given birth are at a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who have had children. Actually the number of childbirths correlates directly with a decrease in risk for developing ovarian cancer. The explanation for this risk factor is connected to the number of menstrual periods a woman has had in her lifetime. Those who began menstruating early (before age 12), had no children, had their first child after age 30, and/or experienced menopause after age 50 have a greater chance of developing ovarian cancer than the general population.