Women's Health

4 Signs That Could Indicate Ovarian Cancer

According to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, 1 out of every 75 women will develop ovarian cancer, the growth of tumors in the ovaries or fallopian tubes. While several types of ovarian tumors can grow, some are benign (not cancerous) and some are malignant (cancerous). Know what symptoms to watch for so you can detect problems early.

Concerning Symptoms

1. Bloating

It’s natural to bloat occasionally, especially when your period is right around the corner. However, if you notice you’re bloated more often than usual or experience abdominal swelling accompanied by weight loss, this could be a sign of a more serious issue.

2. Pelvic or Abdominal Pain

Persistent or severe pain in your pelvis or abdomen could be a sign something is out of the norm. Keep an eye on it, and if it continues or worsens, visit your doctor. If it’s unlike any pain you’ve experienced before, go to the emergency room.

3. Trouble Eating

If your appetite decreases, you have trouble making yourself eat, or you become full after eating only a little food, think about potential causes. This can be the result of new medications or anxiety, among many other things, but this can also be a symptom of an ovarian tumor.

4. Urinary Problems

If you notice a frequent need to use the restroom that seems to have arrived spontaneously and without any changes in diet, activity level, or medication, you should discuss this occurrence with your doctor.

Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors

Several factors can increase your risk of ovarian cancer, some preventable and some not. A couple of risk factors are the use of IVF (infertility treatment) and the use of hormone therapy after menopause for five or more years.

The risk of developing ovarian cancer increases the older you get, with most cases occurring in women over the age of 40. A personal history of breast cancer or a family history of ovarian cancer also increases your risk.

Your Screening Options

If you exhibit any concerning symptoms, it’s always best to speak with your doctor. While there, your doctor can perform a pelvic exam, where he or she will feel for enlarged ovaries and fluid in your abdomen. Your doctor may refer you to a gynecologic oncologist who can conduct further tests. These include X-rays, ultrasounds, and CT scans.

If you notice any alarming changes in your body or potential signs of ovarian cancer, speak with your primary care physician or OB/GYN at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group. Our doctors can perform preliminary testing and, if necessary, send you for further examination or treatment from one of our trusted oncologists.


Sources:
American Cancer Society | Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors
American Cancer Society | Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
American Cancer Society | What is Ovarian Cancer?
American Cancer Society | Tests for Ovarian Cancer
National Ovarian Cancer Coalition | What is Ovarian Cancer?

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