None of us want to think about the possibility of getting cancer, but to be safe, we should all know some of the most important signs. We particularly need to know the crucial facts, signs, and symptoms of ovarian cancer, because it will affect 1 in every 72 women. It’s the fifth most common cancer in women, and we need to be prepared to fight it if it shows up in our lives.
According to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA), many of the symptoms that seem to point to ovarian cancer can be due to something else. But when they are a *big* change from what’s normal for you, and they persist, that’s when cancer could be the cause. So definitely keep a sharp eye on any of these symptoms and contact your doctor immediately if you think you might have something serious. Like many other cancers, ovarian cancer is much easier to treat if it’s caught early.
The more you know about this cancer, the easier it will be to catch signs of it in yourself, as well as in your friends, sisters, and mothers. Because we don’t want to see anymore women lose their lives to this cancer.
Here are seven early symptoms of ovarian cancer.
1. Inexplicable bloating
In addition to persistent bloating, you might experience pressure and pain in your lower abdomen. This symptom can be found on the “Consensus Statement” as one of the top signs of possible ovarian cancer. The statement was signed by OCRFA and other cancer research organizations to create a unified list of key symptoms. So if this is all happening outside your usual monthly bloating, you might want to see your doctor and see if there’s any sign of cancer.
2. Trouble eating or feeling full very quickly
Serious loss of appetite should always be taken seriously, since it’s likely a sign of something else, including ovarian cancer. So when you feel like you have absolutely no interest in food, or you just don’t want to eat because it makes you feel uncomfortably full, take notice and call up your doctor.
3. Pelvic pain and/or abdominal pain
No pain is exactly good pain. And for us, ladies, pelvic pain can be especially worrisome. So get your doc on the phone, especially if this pain is present when you’re not menstruating.
4. A change in urination patterns
Experts say a common symptom of ovarian cancer is having to urinate much more frequently — and much more urgently. If you suddenly become the girl who goes to the bathroom all the time, then make sure to get yourself checked out.
5. Changes to your period
Our bodies can give us a lot of clues if we choose to listen. Your menstrual cycle is an especially important voice to listen to. If your period is way heavier than usual all of a sudden, or you’re spotting in between periods for no reason, don’t waste any time in speaking to your doctor.
6. Difficulty sleeping
The occasional night of insomnia is totally normal. But when your sleep habits drastically change, that can be cause for alarm. You may find yourself wide awake at all hours of the night, or you have so much trouble falling asleep that you spend the next day walking around in a cloud of exhaustion. This is a sign of ovarian cancer that shouldn’t be overlooked.
7. Severe back pain
We might sometimes forget how close our uterus is to our back, but its near proximity means that any trouble in your reproductive organs will likely show up in your lower back (which is why your menstrual cramps result in back aches). If you feel persistent back pain that prevents you from going about your day normally, get it checked out.
Even though we want you to be informed, we don’t want to alarm you over every little pain or discomfort you may experience.
However, your doctor should be a close ally for your health. And if you notice symptoms like these that don’t go away, definitely give your doc a call. Because like any other kind of cancer, early detection is crucial. So listen to your body, because it’s smarter than you think.