According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:
- Discharge that is not usual
- Vaginal bleeding
- Abdominal swelling or bloating
- Quickly feeling full when eating
- Weight loss
- Feeling the urge to urinate frequently
- Discomfort in the pelvic region
- Changes in bowel movements
- Constipation and other bowel changes
SYMPTOMS CAN BE MISLEADING
The above symptoms present a serious problem in that they typically do not show up within the early stages of ovarian cancer. When they do manifest, the disease has already moved to an advanced stage, making it more difficult to treat.
Furthermore, the symptoms of ovarian cancer are commonly mistaken for those stemming from other cancers or non-cancer illnesses. This mistake could result in failing to identify and treat the ovarian cancer in a timely manner.
HOW TO TELL WHEN THE SYMPTOMS LINK TO OVARIAN CANCER
As with any cancer, early detection is paramount. Early detection leads to early diagnosis, which leads to early treatment—and more promising response to that treatment. It is important to know when the symptoms you experience are cause for concern about ovarian cancer and when the symptoms might be indicative of a benign condition.
There are a couple of differentiators that can help with this distinction. Primarily, you want to monitor the frequency and regularity of the symptoms’ occurrence. When ovarian cancer drives the above symptoms, they will manifest with persistence, and they will also present themselves in a way that is markedly different from what you commonly experience.
The American Cancer Society recommends that you go see a physician for further testing if these symptoms appear more than 12 times each month.
FURTHER TESTING MAY BE NECESSARY
When you report your symptoms to your physician, they may consider them suspicious enough to warrant testing. The same precautions will be taken if your doctor were to discover anything unusual during the process of conducting your pelvic exam.
This diagnostic process begins with some basic information gathering. Your physician will talk to you about your medical background—history of cancer in the family, for example, as well as lifestyle questions that could shed some light on what is causing your symptoms.
Next, your doctor will perform a physical exam to see if your ovaries appear to be enlarged and to check if there is any fluid present around the abdomen. Depending upon the results of this preliminary investigation, your physician may refer you to a gynecologic oncologist.
In their efforts to identify any tumors, and, if any are found, to identify the extent of possible spreading of the cancer within or beyond the ovary, your oncologist may order a battery of imaging tests, including:
- CT scans
THE STAGES OF OVARIAN CANCER
As mentioned earlier, by the time ovarian cancer symptoms are recognized, the disease has usually already moved on to an advanced stage.
The stage of a patient’s ovarian cancer is determined and denoted by three factors, according to the American Cancer Society:
- Size (extent) of the tumor (T) – Whether and how much the cancer has spread outside the ovary or fallopian tube and perhaps found its way to pelvic organs, like the bladder or uterus
- Spreading to nearby lymph nodes (N) – Whether and how much the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the pelvic region or around the aorta
- Spreading (metastasis) to distant sites (M) – Whether and how much the cancer has spread to fluid around the lungs (referred to as malignant pleural effusion) or to other distant organs, including the liver or bones
Ovarian cancer is much easier to treat and with greater success rates when the cancer has not moved beyond the ovary or fallopian tubes. For this reason, it is of chief importance to detect symptoms early and determine the staging of the cancer as soon as possible.
Oncologists use a variety of tests in the staging process, including:
- Blood tests
ZANES LAW WILL FIGHT TO RECOVER DAMAGES FOR YOUR TALC-CAUSED OVARIAN CANCER
If your symptoms have led to a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, and you were regularly exposed to talc or talcum powder, Zanes Law will do everything from A to Z to see that you receive compensation. Call (833) 214-0917 for a free consultation.