Appearing bloated is a common sign of ovarian cancer.
But having no appetite, having to urinate more and back pain are also signs to watch out for.
Every day in Britain, about 11 women die from the disease – or 4,000 a year. It kills three times as many people in the US every year, figures show.
Dr. Sharon Tate, head of primary care development at charity Target Ovarian Cancer said: ‘Without an effective screening tool, knowing the symptoms of this disease can give us a head start in diagnosing ovarian cancer at the earliest possible stage.
Appearing bloated is a common sign of ovarian cancer. But having no appetite, having to urinate more and back pain are also signs to watch out for
‘Currently, two-thirds of cases are diagnosed late and one in seven women dies within two months of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
“If the diagnosis is made at the earliest stage, the cancer is easier to treat.”
Here, MailOnline reveals the bizarre warning signs for ovarian cancer awareness month in March.
It’s usually a telltale sign that you’re constipated — or a side effect of gulping down fizzy drinks.
But persistent bloating is also a symptom of ovarian cancer that shouldn’t be ignored, experts say.
Only one in five women know that bloating is a sign of ovarian cancer, according to the charity Target Ovarian Cancer.
Some women develop visible masses similar in size to a football that can be mistaken for a pregnancy belly.
Ovarian Cancer Action explains that bloating can also be the result of ascites, the presence of fluid in the abdominal cavity.
Cancer Research UK states: ‘When cancer cells spread to the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum), they can irritate it and cause fluid to build up. Cancer can also block part of the lymphatic system so that fluid cannot drain from the abdomen as usual.’
Bloating and feeling full quickly are both signs of ovarian cancer. According to the Ovarian Cancer Action charity, some women develop visible masses similar in size to a football that could be mistaken for a pregnancy bump
Feeling full quickly
Not having an appetite — or feeling full after eating — can be another sign of ovarian cancer.
Like bloating, this early satiety can be caused by a tumor or ascites.
This can keep you from feeling hungry because the fluid pushes against other organs in your stomach.
The Gynae Centre, a private clinic in London, says this “could make you feel nauseous, uncomfortable or already full” if it affects the gastrointestinal tract.
Back pain is a common symptom of ovarian cancer, but it’s usually just brushed off as something else.
The tumor can cause persistent pain in your abdomen, hips, and pelvis.
While it sounds like it’s unrelated to ovarian cancer, if the tumor spreads into the abdomen or pelvis, it can irritate the tissue in your lower back, experts say.
If the pain persists, is new to you and cannot easily be attributed to other factors, you should seek advice from your GP.
The NHS says that while it’s a symptom that can be caused by many different conditions, it’s still important to get it checked out by a GP because if it’s cancerous it may be more treatable if caught early.
Having to urinate more
Having to go to the toilet more often can be a sign of an infection. But it may also be a symptom of ovarian cancer.
However, this sign of cancer is not widely known. Only one in 100 women knows about it, according to Target Ovarian Cancer.
According to Dr. Tate, the urge to urinate can be caused by a tumor or ascites.
When a tumor grows in the pelvic area, in this case on the ovaries, it can push against the bladder, causing you to go to the toilet more often.
Internal pressure can also block your ureters, which are the tubes that connect the kidney to the bladder, according to Cancer Research. When this happens, the urine cannot drain, which can cause the kidney to swell.
If you have an urgent need to urinate or need to urinate more often, you should see your GP, according to the NHS.
When a tumor grows in the pelvic area, in this case on the ovaries, it can push against the bladder, causing more frequent trips to the toilet. If you notice that only a small amount of urine comes out when you urinate, experts say it could be a sign that something is pushing in the bladder
Unusual bleeding from the vagina
Bleeding between periods, or even after menopause, can be a sign of ovarian cancer.
In most women, abnormal bleeding is a sign of a hormonal imbalance, but experts say it should be checked.
Heavy and irregular bleeding, especially between periods, are warning signs of a tumor.
Dr Tate said: ‘Any unusual bleeding from the vagina before or after menopause should always be investigated by a GP.
If you experience these symptoms, please contact your doctor. It may be nothing, but it’s best to be sure.
More information about ovarian cancer and support can be found at the Target Ovarian Cancer website.’
This is because a tumor on your ovary can interfere with your menstrual cycle and hormones.
Many tumors produce the female hormone, estrogen, which can cause vaginal bleeding even if you’ve already gone through mesopause, according to the American Cancer Society.
WHY Ovarian Cancer Is Called A ‘SILENT KILLER’
About 80 percent of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed in an advanced stage of the disease.
At the time of diagnosis, 60 percent of ovarian cancers have already spread to other parts of the body, reducing the five-year survival rate from 90 percent at the earliest stage to 30 percent.
According to Dr. Ronny Drapkin, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania who has studied the disease for more than 20 years, the disease is diagnosed so late because of its location in the pelvis.
“The pelvis is like a bowl, so a tumor there can get quite big before it becomes really noticeable,” Dr Drapkin told the Daily Mail Online.
The first symptoms that appear with ovarian cancer are gastrointestinal because tumors can push upward.
When a patient complains of gastrointestinal discomfort, doctors are more likely to focus on dietary changes and other causes than on an ovarian cancer screening.
Dr. Drapkin said it’s usually only after a patient has endured persistent gastrointestinal symptoms that they get a screening that reveals the cancer.
“Ovarian cancer is often said to be a silent killer because it has no early symptoms when in fact it does have symptoms, but they’re just very common and could be caused by other things,” he said.
“One of the things I say to women is that nobody knows your body better than you do. If you feel that something is not right, then something is probably not right.’