Often referred to as the silent killer, ovarian cancer is universally feared as it presents very few symptoms. By the time it’s noticeable, it’s usually too late, with only 20% of cases being detected early enough to treat.
Thankfully, the disease isn’t invisible. Here are six early warning signs to watch out for.
1. A Swollen Stomach
Ovarian cancer causes internal inflammation, which can become visible. Of course, there are many reasons for a swollen stomach, such as Burger King, being a couch potato, or receiving a visit from the stork. Only be concerned if you’re ballooning for no reason.
2. Unexplained Weight Loss
Whilst many people would be glad to ditch a few pounds, without any exercise or dieting, sudden weight loss is a common symptom of cancer, and should be investigated immediately. But this only applies to radical changes, such as a stone or more. Don’t fret if it’s only two pounds.
3. Indigestion and Abdominal Pain
We all get stomach pain sometimes, either because we’ve eaten too much, or it’s just that time of the month. But persistent discomfort might be cause for concern, especially if it’s centred around the pelvis. If you experience these sensations for more than two weeks, which aren’t associated with a current illness, you should seek medical advice.
4. Unpredictable Bowel Movements
As the cancer grows, it puts pressure on the bowel, which can cause your toilet habits to change. If you’re constipated one day, then glued to the toilet the next, this could be a warning. The same applies to how often you pee, especially if you’re suddenly incontinent.
5. Unusual bleeding
Bleeding from your vagina isn’t, in itself, unusual. It happens to everyone at least once a month. It can also be caused by urinary infections, and some over-zealous activity in the bedroom. However, if you’re experiencing bleeding for no discernible reason, along with blisters, unusual discharges, and changes in colour, it could suggest a more sinister problem.
6. Loss of Appetite
If you’re usually a two-dinners kind of person, and you suddenly can’t face some toast, it’s time for alarm bells to ring. Cancers alter your bodies metabolism, causing a loss of appetite, as well as pressuring the abdominal cavity, and reducing the size of your stomach.