Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
“It Whispers, So Listen”
Ovarian Cancer used to be known as the “Silent Killer” because it was believed that there were no signs or symptoms of the disease. It was silent in other ways too. Whether it was cancer of the breast, uterus, ovaries or vagina… one simply didn’t talk about cancers that affected our private parts. “Silence” kept away the embarrassment and humiliation of having cancer, let alone having it in areas not meant to be discussed.
Ovarian cancer was labeled as the “Silent Killer” because it did just that… it killed women silently. Rarely, were there any survivors to give the disease a voice. While ovarian cancer remains a difficult disease to diagnose, (mostly because there is no early detection test), we know now, it isn’t completely silent. Today, the new mantra for ovarian cancer advocates is, “It Whispers, So Listen”. Yes, it does “Whisper”. It whispers so softly though, that often women feel as though they had no symptoms at all. Even when symptoms do appear, they may be so vague that they are ignored. Symptoms tend to be non-specific and can mimic other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or even aging.
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
- Changes in bladder function
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
- Back pain
- Pain during intercourse
- Menstrual changes/vaginal bleeding after menopause
- Unusual weight gain or weight loss
If any of these conditions persist for more than 2-3 weeks, consult a doctor.
Keep in mind that even when women go to the doctor with these symptoms, they are often misdiagnosed. Not only is ovarian cancer one of the deadliest diseases, it is also one of the most misdiagnosed diseases. Although the vast majority of theses symptoms will not result in cancer, you owe it to yourself to get the proper screening. No one wants to think these seemingly minor issues are cancer, but when it comes to this disease, a speedy diagnosis is crucial and can save your life.