As is the case with any condition that hides itself deep inside your body, it can be hard to detect and identify early signs ovarian cancer.
This means ovarian cancer has often advanced and spread to other parts of the body by the time it is diagnosed.
It’s estimated that 1,480 women will be diagnosed with the disease in 2016, and 1,040 will die.
But there are early symptoms, it’s just many women miss them.
Why? Because they are the kinds of symptoms most women experience every now and then, says Jane Hill, CEO of Ovarian Cancer Australia.
“It can be difficult to diagnose ovarian cancer because the symptoms are ones that many women will have from time to time, and they are often symptoms of less serious and more common health problems,” she said.
Research shows that many women diagnosed with ovarian cancer had experienced some of the following:
- Persistent pelvic or abdominal pain
- Abdominal swelling and/or bloating
- Increased urgency and frequency of urination, or incontinence
- Difficulty eating or feeling full after eating a small amount of food.
“If you have any of these symptoms, they are new for you and you have experienced them multiple times during a four-week period, go to your GP,” Ms Hill said.
Ovarian Cancer Australia has created a you can download to help you track your symptoms if you are concerned.
“You can then take the completed diary to your doctor to assist with diagnosis.”
Other symptoms Ms Hill says to look out for include:
- Changes in your bowel habits
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Bleeding in-between periods or after menopause
- Back pain
- Indigestion or nausea
- Excessive fatigue
- Pain during intercourse.
“It is important to remember that most women with these symptoms will not have ovarian cancer. Your doctor should first rule out more common causes of these symptoms, but if there is no clear reason for your symptoms, your doctor needs to consider the possibility of ovarian cancer,” she said.
“And if you still have concerns after seeing your doctor, it is OK to see someone else.
“If you are not comfortable with your doctor’s diagnosis or you are still concerned about unexplained persistent symptoms, you should seek a second opinion.”
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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