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What Are the Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer?

December 3, 2022

Ovarian cancer is a serious health issue affecting thousands of women annually. It is important for women to be aware of the warning signs of ovarian cancer, as early detection is key to successful treatment.

This article will provide an overview of the warning signs of ovarian cancer and discuss the importance of routine screenings for women aged 55-63 at a higher risk of developing the disease.

Knowing the warning signs and having regular check-ups can help women detect ovarian cancer in its early stages and improve their chances of successful treatment.


Early Ovarian Cancer Warning Signs

The warning signs of ovarian cancer are often difficult to detect because the symptoms may be vague and can mimic symptoms of other illnesses. Early warning signs of ovarian cancer may include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Pelvic pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain.

Women who experience persistent symptoms unrelated to any other known condition should seek medical attention. Women should be especially vigilant if the symptoms last for more than two weeks.

Other subtle warning signs of ovarian cancer can include a feeling of fullness even after eating only a small amount of food, pain during sexual intercourse, increased abdominal size, and changes in the menstrual cycle such as irregular bleeding or spotting. Women should keep an eye out for any of these symptoms and seek medical attention if they persist.

In some cases, a physical examination or an imaging test such as ultrasound may be necessary to determine the cause of the symptoms. If the doctor suspects a tumor, they may order a biopsy or a CA-125 blood test, which measures the amount of protein produced by ovarian cancer cells.

Ovarian cancer treatment is typically a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. It is important for women to be aware of the early warning signs and to seek help if they experience any of them. Early detection and treatment are essential for improving the chances of a successful outcome.


The Importance of Detecting Ovarian Cancer Early

When a diagnosis is made early, the five-year ovarian cancer survival rate is about 94%. However, only 20% of cases are diagnosed early. Ovarian cancer warning signs and symptoms don’t usually crop up until later.

If you do experience early symptoms, they may be vague and inconsistent. In addition, they may come on so gradually that you don’t notice until they have become more identifiable.

Visit your care provider if you’re experiencing any of the warning signs below. It could be nothing serious. However, your physician can conduct a comprehensive examination and use imaging to evaluate what’s going on, giving you the potential to catch the disease at an early stage.


Signs and Symptoms of Advanced Ovarian Cancer

Advanced ovarian cancer is when the cancer cells have spread beyond the ovaries to other parts of the body, such as the abdomen, pelvis, or other organs. Advanced ovarian cancer occurs when the cancer cells have spread to a point where surgery cannot completely remove them.

Signs and symptoms of advanced ovarian cancer are often subtle and non-specific and can include:

  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Increased abdominal size
  • Feeling full quickly after eating
  • Bloating
  • Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
  • Changes in bowel habits 

Other symptoms may include fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, back pain, nausea, and/or constipation.


Treatment Options for Ovarian Cancer

The treatment for ovarian cancer can involve chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or surgery. Depending on the individual patient, a combination of treatments may be recommended. Chemotherapy is the most commonly used treatment for advanced ovarian cancer to help reduce tumor size, reduce symptoms, and prolong life.

Radiation therapy is sometimes used to treat localized areas of cancer and may be used before or after surgery. Surgery may be used to remove any remaining cancer cells and can be used to reduce the chance of recurrence.

The prognosis for advanced ovarian cancer varies from patient to patient and depends on the cancer stage and the patient’s overall health. Treatments may be able to help improve the quality of life and prolong life expectancy, but the prognosis can be serious. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to maximize the chance of successful treatment.

Ovarian cancer pelvis symptoms intensify as the disease spreads. If it moves into other regions of the body, such as the urinary tract, pelvis, and abdomen, the symptoms may become more specific and severe.



Many of the symptoms of ovarian cancer are silent. However, staying in tune with your body can help you notice indistinct warning signs. Regular preventative care is an excellent way to monitor your general health. A strong relationship with your doctor will help you identify potential symptoms before they progress to a severe condition.

Ovarian cancer is a serious health concern for women. Awareness of the warning signs is the best defense against this deadly disease. Early detection is key to successful treatment, and Horizon Oncology is here to help. Our team of oncology experts has the knowledge and resources to provide the best possible care, so you can feel confident that you’re in the right hands. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the warning signs of ovarian cancer, contact Horizon Oncology today and let us help you keep your health in check.