Educate yourself about the risks and symptoms of ovarian cancer this September for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Ovarian cancer can be a tricky disease, because many of the symptoms can be caused by other health problems. But it's also important that you don't dismiss symptoms as nothing if they are lingering for weeks. You should bring up anything that concerns you to your doctor. If what you're experiencing does turn out to be signs of ovarian cancer, your early detection will improve your chances of successful treatment.
The National Cancer Institute highlights these possible symptoms of ovarian cancer:
- Pain or pressure in the abdomen, pelvis, back or legs
- Swelling or bloating in the abdomen
- Nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation or diarrhea
- Constant tiredness
Less commonly, women with ovarian cancer experience
- Shortness of breath
- A need to urinate frequently
- Unusual vaginal bleeding, such as periods that are heavier than normal or post-menopausal bleeding
Because many of these symptoms could result from other issues, the American Cancer Society says you should pay attention to anything that is outside the norm for you or is unexplained. Symptoms also may not occur in the early stages of ovarian cancer. If you are at a high risk of developing ovarian cancer — for example, if you have a strong family history of the disease — you may need to have regular ultrasound screenings or blood tests.
Make sure you understand the risk factors of ovarian cancer and talk to your doctor about any questions. All women should get regular check-ups, too, no matter what their risk. If you need to find a gynecologist, you can search by specialty or name on our online physician locator.
Aventura Hospital and Medical Center also offers a full range of diagnostic and treatment services on site at the Aventura Comprehensive Cancer Center. Patients are our No. 1 priority, and we make sure they have access to board-certified radiation oncologists, the latest equipment and the best treatment modalities. For more information, call 305-682-2151.