Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of death among women in the United States and is the most deadly of the gynecologic cancers. It is estimated that in 2023, approximately 19,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and about 12,800 will die from the disease.
This cancer typically occurs in women in their fifties and sixties. Many women who are diagnosed with Ovarian cancer have a genetic history that may include carrying the BRCA mutation gene and having a strong family history of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is not an uncommon disease, occurring in 1 of every 72 women (average-risk women are those without a predisposition to ovarian cancer).
When ovarian cancer is detected early, before it has spread beyond the ovaries, more than 90% of women will survive longer than five years. However, only 15% of women are diagnosed in the early stages.
Ovarian cancer is often difficult to diagnose because symptoms may be subtle, are easily confused with other diseases and because there is no single reliable easy-to-administer screening tool.
The symptoms of ovarian cancer may include:
- • Bloating
- • Pelvic or abdominal pain
- • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- • Urinary urgency or frequency
Other symptoms may include:
- • Nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation or diarrhea
- • Extreme fatigue
- • Shortness of breath
- • Backaches
- • Weight gain
Women with ovarian cancer report that symptoms are persistent and represent a change from normal for their bodies. The frequency and/or number of such symptoms are key factors in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Several studies show that even early-stage ovarian cancer can produce these symptoms.
Women who have these symptoms almost daily for more than two weeks should see their doctor, preferably a gynecologist. Prompt medical evaluation may lead to detection at the earliest possible stage of the disease. We recommend a pelvic/rectal exam, a transvaginal sonogram, and a CA 125 blood test. If ovarian cancer is suspected, it is crucial to see a gynecologic oncologist who specializes in women’s cancers.
If you have any symptoms of ovarian cancer, please contact us. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call us at (512) 301-6767 or click the link below.