The American Cancer Society ranks ovarian cancer as the fifth cancer affecting women in the United States as well as “accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.” Actor Angelina Jolie wrote for the New York Times in a 2015 op-ed piece, revealing she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed after tests showed markers, a sign of early cancer. Jolie didn’t make the decision lightly as her mother, aunt, and grandmother died from ovarian cancer. Researchers have only been able to identify, “breast cancer,” BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes as the cause for ovarian cancer. Jolie is a carrier of BRCA1. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2017, 22,440 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and another 14,080 will die from it. Still, there are signs women should look for, allowing for early detection.Dr. William Hamilton, from the University of Bristol and the lead author in a study, found that ovarian cancer is not the, “silent killer,” people believed it to be for decades. Part of the problem with early symptoms of ovarian cancer is that they are mistaken for other aches and pains.
It is important to note that these symptoms may be present when other organs with cancer appear. The difference is that with ovarian cancer the aches and pains are more persistent.
A 50-year-study in California found that women with long cycles and missed periods have a higher risk of ovarian cancer. The study which began in 1959 with 15,000 women saw 116 women develop ovarian cancer with 84 succumbing to the disease. Those with irregular periods were twice as likely to develop ovarian cancer.
Everyone feels tired after a long week of work and personal activities. But when not even a couple of good night’s sleep help, you should talk to your doctor.
Changes in appetite that lingers is reason enough to see a doctor.
Dramatic changes in your eating habits may be a sign of ovarian cancer.
Irritable bowel syndrome is often mistakenly diagnosed when symptoms like cramping appear. Book an appointment for a full-body check-up.
If you are feeling nauseous and constipated, don’t assume it’s just sensitive stomach. Take these symptoms seriously.
Dr. William Hamilton found in his study that bloating or abdominal digestion was present six months prior to an official diagnosis.
Because women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are commonly among 63 years or older, symptoms like losing hair are attributed as part of aging.
As mentioned earlier, ovarian cancer is often mistaken with irritable bowel syndrome. It is important to keep in mind that IBS does not commonly affect women over the age of 50.
Feeling the need to use the bathroom constantly but your water consumption has not increased is something you need to bring to your doctor’s attention.
The University of Minnesota found that 15 per cent of women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer while being checked for a completely different condition.
Studies show that early detection of ovarian cancer has a 94 per cent rate of women living past five years.
Ovarian cancer has gone from the, “silent killer,” to the “disease that whispers.”
Another study found that all these symptoms occur every day or every other day, at least 12 times a month.
“Don’t let your doctor say it’s just irritable bowel syndrome or a urinary tract infection. When these things are not going away despite the fact that you’ve been treated, it’s a red flag,” Zivanovic said.