Ovarian cancer rarely produces any symptoms in its early stages, these warning signs do eventually develop though:
Pain or swelling in the abdomen, or pain in the lower back
Diarrhoea, constipation or increased urination
Vague digestive disturbances, such as bloating, mild indigestion, loss of appetite or a feeling of fullness.
Vaginal bleeding, between menstrual periods or after menopause.
Symptoms of advanced ovarian cancer include:
The two ovaries are found beside the uterus and are each only the size of an almond. They produce eggs and female hormones. The ovaries might develop abnormal growths such as cysts, which are always benign, as are most ovarian tumors. They can occur at any age, even in childhood, but are most common after menopause. Because ovarian cancer is very rarely detected in the early stages it usually spreads significantly before it is diagnosed. It is very important that the cancer is detected very early on, so that it can be treated with success.
It has been reported that even though most women who suffer from ovarian cancer have no family history of the disease, a woman is more susceptible to it if her mother or sister has had ovarian, breast or uterine cancer. Other factors that may increase a woman’s vulnerability to the disease are:
Not having any or too many children
Having trouble conceiving
Delaying having children until the thirties or over
A diet of saturated fats - these foods contain oestrogen which allows ovarian cancers to grow faster.
Women who have had several children, who breast-feed their infants, or use birth-control pills are at less of a risk. This may be because these women ovulate less frequently. Annual pelvic examinations can help detect ovarian cancer early.
If you are in the high-risk category for ovarian cancer, you should ask your doctor about current recommendations for routine blood screening. For women at extremely high risk, a doctor may recommend having the ovaries removed to prevent the diseases.
When to seek further professional advice
If you have unexplained abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding, especially if these occur with the more general symptoms listed above. You should not allow such symptoms to continue undiagnosed for more than two weeks.
Creating a healthy immune system is vitally important for all people with cancer. You should try to get plenty of regular exercise, enough sleep, and essential vitamins and minerals by eating fresh fruits and vegetables. You should also cut down on dairy products, meats, and other high fat foods. There are various herbs with demonstrated immune-enhancing properties that may complement standard treatment, but you should check with your doctor before using them. Antioxidants have been tested as a possible prevention aid for cancer.
Surgery is usually the treatment given for ovarian cancer. The two ovaries and the other reproductive organs are normally removed. If the woman is young, her doctor might only remove the diseased ovary and the second one can be removed later to prevent recurrence. In most patients, the cancer remains after surgery, so they usually receive chemotherapy, which will then help prolong their survival and may result in cure. Once remission occurs, follow up examinations are essential.
The information contained in this Site/Service is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or taken for medical diagnosis or treatment.