Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the ovaries. The female reproductive system contains two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. The ovaries produce eggs (ova) as well as the hormones oestrogen and progesterone.
Each year, about 1300 Australian women find out they have ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, it often goes undetected until it has spread within the pelvis and abdomen. At this late stage, ovarian cancer is more difficult to treat.
Early stage ovarian cancer, when the disease is confined to the ovary, is more likely to be treated successfully. As there is no early detection test for ovarian cancer, all women need to be aware of the symptoms associated with it. The most commonly reported symptoms are:
Other possible symptoms are:
These symptoms are also commonly caused by benign (non-cancerous) diseases and sometimes by cancers of other organs. When they are caused by cancer, they tend to be persistent and might worsen over time.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms which are persistent and troublesome, you should see your doctor. They will be able to examine you and if necessary, do further tests to find the cause of your problems.
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. Track your symptoms and bring the records with you to your doctor's visit.
"Remember that you know your body better than anyone else. Always listen to what your body is saying and trust your instincts"
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I am a dual-trained Medical Oncologist and Palliative Care Physician who is passionate about empowering people living with cancer through education