Ovarian Cancer – Symptoms

The ovaries are the part of a woman’s reproductive system that makes eggs. These eggs can be fertilized by male sperm to become a baby. The ovaries are in the pelvic area and are small and round – about the same size as a walnut. The ovaries also make hormones, and therefore have a huge effect on other parts of the body, including the menstrual cycle.

Cancer is a disease of the cells in the body. There are various types of ovarian cancer and usually, the earlier it is spotted and diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin and the better the outcome for the patient. Symptoms of ovarian cancer are often similar to other conditions, many of which are much less serious than ovarian cancer. For example, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, ovarian cysts, and Polcystic Ovary Syndrome have symptoms that are similar to those of ovarian cancer.

Check out the symptoms below, know your body, keep a diary of any symptoms that you notice, and if your symptoms are frequent, persistent and new, visit your GP without delay.

Symptoms of very early ovarian cancer can be vague or easily missed. Early ovarian cancer means that the cancer is completely inside the ovary and in fact, often there are no symptoms at all at this stage. However, symptoms can include pain in the lower abdomen, pelvic area or side, or a feeling of being bloated in the abdomen and feeling full up. Bloating in this case refers to persistent bloating; not bloating that comes and goes.

If the cancer has grown outside the ovary, symptoms can include irregular periods or bleeding after menopause, lower abdominal or back pain, a change in bowel habits or passing urine more frequently than normal because of pressure on the bladder. Symptoms may also include pain during sex, a swollen abdomen, a loss of appetite or a feeling of being full.

If the cancer has spread to other organs, symptoms can include sickness, extreme fatigue, back pain, unexplained weight loss, shortness of breath and more noticeable swelling of the abdomen