Generally, an ovarian cancer symptom will only present itself in more advanced stages of the disease.
This is a common trend amongst cancers and one of the reasons cancer fatality rates remain high even after decades of advances in detection and treatments.
Ovarian cancer is prevalent in older women, typically 50 to 70 years of age. In younger women an ovarian cyst commonly causes a similar symptom profile (commonly this is general swelling of one of the ovaries).
Ovarian cancer is one of the most common gynecological cancers.
The earliest and most common ovarian tumor symptom is general discomfort, typically in the lower abdomen. This pain may present itself as chronic indigestion-like pain.
Ovarian cancer symptoms:
- lower abdomen discomfort and/or pain
- loss of appetite
- swelling of the abdomen
- gas pain and/or indigestion-like pain
- in more advanced stages abdominal bloating
- in more advanced stages pelvic pain
- weight loss
- less commonly, enlargement of the breasts
- less commonly, excessive body hair growth
- less commonly, hyperthyroidism
The region of the ovary from which the cancer developed will determine the type of the ovarian cancer that develops. The cells of the surface of the ovary contribute the majority of ovarian cancer cases.
Diagnosis from an early ovarian tumor symptom is difficult since other diseases cause similar symptoms.
Also, at the point the ovarian symptom presents itself, the cancer is likely well advanced.
As with all cancers, early detection and treatment is critical.
Treatments are typically surgical in nature and may involve chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments to limit and control spread of the cancer.