Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect, especially in the early stages. This is partly due to the fact that these two small, almond shaped organs are deep within the abdominal cavity, one on each side of the uterus.
The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague. These are some of the potential signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain or discomfort
- Vague, but persistent gastrointestinal upsets such as gas, nausea, and indigestion
- Frequency and/or urgency of urination in absence of an infection
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Pelvic and/or abdominal swelling, bloating and/or feeling of fullness
- Ongoing unusual fatigue
- Unexplained changes in bowel habits
When the symptoms are persistent, when they do not resolve with normal interventions (like diet change, exercise, laxatives, rest) it is imperative for a woman to see her doctor. Age doesn’t matter, as we have seen in Elizabeth’s case. Persistence of symptoms is key.
Know these symptoms…. Pay attention to your body!
- An estimated 21,980 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014.
- That same year, an estimated 14,270 died from ovarian cancer.
- Ovarian cancer rates are highest in women aged 55-64.
- The median age of death from ovarian cancer is 71.
- Approximately 1.3% of women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer at some point in their lives.
- Only 14.7% of ovarian cancer diagnoses are made in the localized stage, with the highest survival rate.
- 61% of cases are diagnosed after ovarian cancer has metastasized, with a 5-year survival rate of 27.4%.
These statistics were taken from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER).