Ovarian cancer is often called the “silent” killer because many times there are no symptoms until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage.
One-third of American women will get some form of cancer in their lifetime and approximately one and one half percent of those cases will be cancer involving one or both ovaries.
Early Detection More than 20,000 women in the U.S. will find out this year that they have ovarian cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Every year, more than 15,000 women die from the disease.
While it’s a fairly uncommon disease – ovarian cancer makes up around 3 percent of cancers in women – it causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.
That’s in part because ovarian cancer is not often caught in the early stages. When it is, the five-year survival rate is over 90 percent. However, just 19 percent of cases are diagnosed at that early stage.
KNOW THE SYMPTOMS
Ovarian cancer has no reliable symptoms, and in many cases, there are no symptoms at all. When there are symptoms, they can include: Persistent gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and gas; frequent or urgent urination; changes in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhea); bloating or pain in the abdomen; trouble eating; feeling of fullness; unexplained or unusual fatigue; postmenopausal bleeding; unexpected weight gain or loss; back pain, and pain during intercourse.
These symptoms are vague and seem somewhat common, but the important factor is their persistence. If a woman experiences any of these conditions for more than two weeks, she should check with her doctor.