The symptoms of ovarian cancer have always been vague. As is the case with many types of cancer, if ovarian cancer is found early, the five-year survival is greater than 90 percent. Since this month is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness, we’d like to take this opportunity to talk about the signs and symptoms of this silent disease.
First of all, it should be known that epithelial is the most common type of ovarian cancer, accounting for about 90 percent of all cases. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that in 2014 in the United States, approximately 21,980 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer and about 14,270 women will die from this disease. In an effort to help reduce these numbers and save lives, the ACS and other groups took a big step toward giving ovarian disease a lifesaving voice by identifying a specific set of symptoms for ovarian cancer.
The most common symptoms include:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
- Urinary symptoms such as urgency (always feeling like you have to go) or frequency (having to go often).
While these symptoms can also be commonly caused by non-cancerous (benign) diseases or by cancers of other organs, when they are caused by ovarian cancer, they tend to be persistent and represent a change from normal. If you or someone you know has these symptoms more than 12 times a month, this could be cause for concern. The most important step is recognizing these as possible symptoms and seeing your gynecologist to evaluate your risk.
If you or a loved one have any questions about ovarian cancer or are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned, please feel free to schedule a screening and consultation with an Ob-Gyn at the Bingham Memorial Women’s Center. For an appointment in Blackfoot, call 782-3900, or in Pocatello, call 478-2472.