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Ovarian Cancer

Every Woman Needs to Know Ovarian Cancer’s Symptoms

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of the gynecologic cancers, surpassing cervical, uterine and other more commonly known cancers. It can be particularly difficult to diagnose because its wide range of symptoms can mimic other diseases. There is no cure or even a screening test such as there is for breast cancer (mammogram) or cervical cancer (Pap test).

But if ovarian cancer is diagnosed early, nine out of 10 women will survive. The key is to know the symptoms.

The survivor community is leading the charge to enlighten women and health care providers that there are symptoms, even in early-stage cancer. Every woman is at risk, no matter her age, ethnicity, race or sexual orientation.

If a women experiences any of these symptoms for more than three weeks, she should immediately see her gynecologist or regular health care provider and advocate for a combination pelvic/rectal exam, CA 125 blood test, and a transvaginal ultrasound. Be sure that a gynecologic oncologist is part of the health team.

  • Pelvic and abdominal pain
  • Urinary frequency and urgency
  • Increased abdominal size and bloating
  • Difficulty eating and feeling full quickly
  • Other symptoms may include constipation or diarrhea; nausea, indigestion or gas; abnormal vaginal bleeding; unusual fatigue; unexplained weight loss or gain; shortness of breath or low back pain

As the vision and voice for the ovarian cancer community, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, a 501(c)(3) organization, and its 50 partner member organizations work for more effective diagnostics, treatments and a cure. This fall the Alliance will launch a national agenda to increase research, improve access to quality care and affect legislation on ovarian cancer issues. For more information or to find out how you can help, go to or call 202-331-1332.

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