Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

Ovarian cancer has typically been thought of as the "silent killer" showing no symptoms before the advanced stage of the cancer.

Recent research, however, has shown there are some symptoms that can warn a woman of the need to seek medical attention. According to the American Cancer Society, the symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Bloating or increased abdominal size

  • Pelvic or abdominal pain

  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly

  • Urinary urgency, having to go often or always feeling as if you have to go

These symptoms can also signal other illnesses, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. However, when these symptoms are persistent, are abnormal for you and last for a few weeks or if symptoms develop suddenly and are severe, it is recommended to see a gynecologist.

Researchers at the University of Washington completed a study in 2002. In this study they found 95% of women with ovarian cancer had experienced symptoms prior to being diagnosed.

Additional symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:

  • Exhaustion or fatigue

  • Nausea

  • Back pain

  • Pain during sex

  • Constipation

  • Menstrual changes

These symptoms are less common and are associated with other illnesses or conditions and do not necessarily indicate ovarian cancer.

Early detection is important and increases a patient's chances of recovery. For this reason, if you are experiencing the above symptoms, it is imperative to make an appointment with your physician.


"Ovarian Cancer Symptoms", 2008, May 12, UAB Health System

"Ovarian Cancer Symptoms", Date and Author Unknown, The John Hopkins Ovarian Cancer Center of Excellence

"Symptoms", 2008, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

"How is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed", 2008, Jan 19, American Cancer Society, Inc.