When it comes cancer, the big focus is placed on breast cancer and prostate cancer. And for good reason. Sadly, we lose thousands of people to these cancers every year. On the flip side, increasingly awareness means early detection is on the rise for both these cancers and that means survival rates are too.
What we don’t hear much about is ovarian cancer, despite almost 2000 Australians with ovaries being diagnosed with the disease every year.
Like most cancers, the earlier ovarian cancer is detective, the greater your chances of survival. Unfortunately, many of the signs of ovarian cancer are often overlooked. That’s because they can be easily confused with symptoms often experienced by ovary-owners, so it’s easy to ignore them.
Here are some of the most easily missed signs of possible ovarian cancer.
Let’s face it, bloating is a recurring issue, experienced by many people with ovaries. It may be due to your period or eating particular foods. But bloating that persists can be a sign of ovarian cancer. In fact around two thirds of people with ovarian cancer report experiencing bloating.
Bowel and bladder changes
Symptoms such as diarrhea and constipation, which can be signs of ovarian cancer, are easily ignored, given they’re experienced by many people in their lifetime.
A need to urinate more often, a burning sensation when urinating, and a continuous feeling of needing to go to the loo are also often reported.
While there’s no need to panic when you experience any of these, it’s worth taking note of, especially if they’re happening at the same time as other key signs or symptoms.
Back and/or abdominal pain
Abdominal pain is one of the most common symptoms experienced by those with ovarian cancer. Some say it feels similar to menstrual pain, while others say it’s more like heavy pressure.
The same applies to back pain.
For the most part, stomach and back pain are related to common ailments – and that’s why they’re often ignored. But both can by symptoms of ovarian cancer.
Let’s be honest, many people with ovaries take little notice of menstrual changes, it’s just a part of life for many of us. And there are many reasons our cycle can go off the rails.
But ovarian cancer can affect your period too – causing you to miss period, bleed more heavily, result in spotting, or other discharge.
Any time you experience a change in your cycle, you should check it out.
Symptoms such as loss of appetite, a constant feeling of fullness, nausea after eating, indigestion and weight loss after attributed to reflux or similar issues.
And most of the time, that’s the cause.
But ovarian cancer can also trigger these changes.
Because many of the silent symptoms of ovarian cancer are commonly experienced by most ovary-owners, it’s important not to panic when you experience one or more of them.
But there’s no harm in checking things out. If you do experience multiple symptoms around the same time, it’s a good idea to head to your GP. Make a list of anything else you’ve been meaning to ask about. The worst that can happen is an unnecessary trip to the doctor, but if it saves your life, you’ll be glad you did.