Ovarian cancer may cause only mild or nonspecific (abdominal distress or fullness, back pain, or increasing girth) symptoms until the later stages. Most of the symptoms result from a large tumor in the pelvis. The majority of women will have stage III or greater ovarian cancer at the time of diagnosis. Because of this, it is essential that women of all ages know what to look for so that early problems result in earlier diagnosis, treatment, and better cure rates. It is also important to have regular pelvic exams because they may provide an early diagnosis even in the absence of any significant symptoms.
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Note: These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you have persistent symptoms, see your doctor.
Kasper DL, Harrison TR. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 1998.
Ovarian cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003130-pdf.pdf. Accessed January 3, 2014.
Ovarian cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900705/Ovarian-cancer. Updated May 6, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.
Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/ovarian/patient/ovarian-epithelial-treatment-pdq#section/_156. Accessed January 3, 2014.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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