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Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

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Ovarian cancer may cause only mild or nonspecific (usually nonspecific abdominal distress or fullness, back pain, or increasing girth) symptoms until the later stages. Most of the symptoms are due to a large tumor mass inside your pelvis. Seventy-five percent of women with ovarian cancer will have stage three or greater at the time of diagnosis. Because of this, it is essential that women of all ages know what to look for so that early complaints can result in earlier diagnoses, earlier treatment, and better cure rates. It is also important to have regular pelvic examination because this may provide an early diagnosis even in the absence of any significant symptoms.

Ovarian Cancer
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Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal discomfort and/or pain
  • Gas, indigestion, pressure, swelling, bloating, or cramps
  • Nausea, diarrhea , constipation , or frequent urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling of fullness even after only a light meal
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Abnormal bleeding from the vagina

Note: These symptoms may be caused by another, less serious health condition. If you have persistence of any of these symptoms, see your doctor.

Revision Information

  • Kasper DL, Harrison TR. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 1998.

  • Ovarian cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 2013. Accessed January 3, 2014

  • Ovarian cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/ovarian. Accessed January 3, 2014.