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Ovarian Cancer Symptoms And Risk Factors You Need To Know

Ovarian cancer cases, more often than not, are diagnosed late. Research shows that only 20% of women are diagnosed early.
It was traditionally believed that this type of cancer does not produce major or characteristic symptoms to detect it until it is widespread. This makes early symptoms of the disease unrecognizable.
It was only in June of 2007 that the American Cancer Society, along with other medical societies including the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation and the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, released possible early symptoms to detect ovarian cancer.
Among the symptoms are the following:

  • Vague digestive disturbances such as bloating, mild indigestion or gas
  • Urgent or frequent urination, diarrhea or constipation
  • Difficulty eating, feeling full very quickly or loss of appetite
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain, lower back pain or pelvic pressure
  • Abnormal bleeding between menstrual cycles

If a woman experiences the symptoms stated, she should consult a gynecologist for cancer screening, especially if the symptoms are new, if they are severe, or if they recur for two to three weeks.
It is also important to note that having all the above symptoms does not necessarily mean that a woman will test positive for ovarian cancer since a lot of minor ailments can produce similar symptoms.
The risk factors for ovarian cancer development are the following:

  • Having a family history of ovarian cancer results in high risk since the BRCA 1 and 2 genes are inherited.
  • Having a family history of colon or breast cancer also adds to an increased risk.
  • Women over the age of 50 to 60 are more at risk.
  • Women who have not given birth have a bigger risk and also women who have their menstruation early (age 12).
  • Taking fertility drugs or hormone therapy after menopause adds to the risk of ovarian cancer, though those who have taken contraceptive pills have lower risk.
  • Obese women have a higher rate of death from ovarian cancer.
  • Those who use talcum powder in the genital area have a slightly higher risk.