Reported from the Healthline page, more than 22,000 women in the world reported having ovarian cancer in 2017. Even more than half are at risk of dying. Ovarian cancer has a high mortality rate because the symptoms of ovarian cancer tend to be undetected until it has already stepped on the final stage.
Therefore, it is important for you to be aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer that can lurk anytime. So, what are the initial symptoms? Check out the full review below.
Why are the early symptoms of ovarian cancer often not felt?
Ovaries are reproductive organs that produce ovum (egg cells) and female sex hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. Ovarian cancer occurs when cells in the ovary develop abnormally and form malignant tumors.
According to Dr. Nimesh Nagarsheth from Icahn School of Medicine on Mount Sinai, the cause of ovarian cancer is difficult to detect since the beginning associated with the area of space in the abdomen and pelvis of women. This large enough space in the abdomen and pelvis makes cancer cells easier to move and grow. This will continue to occur until there is no more room for tumor mass to develop, even if the patient is aware of the symptoms.
In addition, symptoms of ovarian cancer resemble the symptoms of constipation, irritable bowel symptoms, premenstrual syndrome or PMS, or bladder problems. But the difference is that the symptoms of ovarian cancer continue to develop and deteriorate gradually. If the tumor is not treated immediately, then this tumor can spread to other parts of the body.
Various symptoms of ovarian cancer to watch out for from the start
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about 94 percent of women with ovarian cancer can last up to 5 years longer if the disease is detected as early as possible. Here are the symptoms of ovarian cancer that you need to be aware of from the start.
Irregular bleeding is most common in women who have ovarian stromal tumors. This is because stromal tumors produce estrogen which causes bleeding like menstruation, even if the patient is menopausal.
In one case of a woman suffering from stage 4 ovarian cancer at the age of 53 years, she returned to menstruation after 9 months of menopause. Therefore, be careful if you experience unnatural bleeding, especially if you have entered menopause.
Another symptom of ovarian cancer is the stomach feels bloated or crowded. Most sufferers feel this is quite reasonable as a result of menstruation or diet that is being lived. In fact, flatulence due to ovarian cancer tends not to disappear in a long time.
Ovarian cancer sufferers generally experience ascites, which is a buildup of fluid in the stomach that is common in people who have liver disease or cancer. For this reason, the stomach looks enlarged like being pregnant.
3. Feel full quickly
Patients with ovarian cancer at an early stage tend to feel full quickly. This is caused by ascites or a buildup of fluid in the stomach which makes the patient feel bloated and full faster. As a result, patients often lose appetite, usually only able to spend half a meal.
4. Abdominal cramps
The initial symptoms that are quite typical of ovarian cancer are experiencing cramps like menstruation. Some women who are used to experiencing menstrual cramps may only think this is normal and will quickly disappear. Even though it should be watched out because it has the opportunity to signify symptoms of ovarian cancer.
It is not unusual for tumors that grow in the pelvic area to cause pain in the lower abdomen. This discomfort is similar to menstrual cramps. This is why many tend to ignore it.
5. Back pain
According to Dr. Marleen Meyers, an oncologist from New York University’s Langone Medical Center, women with ovarian cancer tend to experience back pain. This is due to fluid accumulation and spread of tumors in the stomach and pelvis. Indirectly, the tissues in the lower back are disturbed and cause pain.
Especially if back pain is not related to heavy or tiring physical activity. If this happens to you, immediately ask your doctor for a more precise diagnosis.
6. Shortness of breath
End-stage ovarian cancer can cause respiratory problems. When the tumor begins to enlarge, the lungs become depressed, preventing the patient from breathing smoothly as usual.
7. Digestive disordersOne of the early symptoms of ovarian cancer that often escapes attention is a digestive disorder similar to stomach ulcers or buildup of gas in the stomach. In one case, digestive disorders were felt for six months before ovarian cancer was diagnosed. This situation is common in ovarian cancer patients who experience discomfort in the abdomen due to flatulence and constipation (difficulty defecating).
8. Frequent urinationAccording to Dr. Marleen Meyers, the symptom of ovarian cancer that is often overlooked is frequent urination. This occurs when ovarian cancer cells have enlarged and compressed the outer bladder wall. In addition, it can also be caused when the ascites in the pelvis presses on the bladder so that you urinate more often.