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    Ask This When What to Ask About the Early Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer

    Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of death for women, and is responsible for more deaths than all other female reproductive system cancers. The risk of a woman getting diagnosed with ovarian cancer throughout her lifetime is 1 in 75, and a woman's risk of dying from that ovarian cancer is approximately 1 in 100. Fifty percent of ovarian cancers occur in women who are 63 or older. In the United States alone, over 22,000 women will receive an ovarian cancer diagnosis in 2016; another 15,000 women will die from this cancer. It is important for all women to learn how to recognize the early warning signs of this cancer, and ask the right questions of their doctors.

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    What are some other early warning signs of ovarian cancer?
    In addition to the signs already mentioned, women should contact their doctors if they notice an abnormally increased abdominal size, frequent diarrhea, constipation, and nausea, any unusual vaginal bleeding, sudden weight loss, any changes in menstruation, back pain, pelvic pressure or pain, or problems with painful sex.
    What women have an increased risk of ovarian cancer?
    Women who have had breast cancer before the age of 40, a mother, daughter, or sister who's had ovarian cancer, or women of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, women with genetic mutations (the presence of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations) or women that have HNPCC (Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colon Cancer) are the most at risk.
    Are there screening tests available for ovarian cancer?
    A number of screening tests are available for ovarian cancer. These include blood tests to find the serum marker CA-125, and the use of a transvaginal ultrasound. A newer test, that is based on proteomics (a method which evaluates simultaneous patterns in low molecular-weight proteins) is currently being evaluated.
    Can excessive bloating be an early warning sign for ovarian cancer?
    Ovarian cancer may not be the most likely cause for serious bloating, but it is one of the most deadly. Even though it ranks fifth in the commonest cancers found in women, ovarian cancer is responsible for more fatalities than any other type of reproductive cancer.
    Is the feeling that a person needs to urinate constantly be an early warning sign of ovarian cancer?
    A woman should contact her doctor if urinary problems like burning, urgency, frequency, incontinence or spasms lasts for two to three weeks. Women should pay attention to any incontinence problems that evolve over the period of a few weeks, and not be alarmed if the incontinence is a long-standing issue.
    Is feeling full too quickly or having difficulty eating early warning signs?
    Doctors recommend that if a woman has either of these symptoms more frequently than twelve times in one month, and these symptoms are unusual or new to the patient, that she see a physician to be evaluated for ovarian cancer.
    Can abdominal pain be a sign of ovarian cancer?
    Experiencing pain in the side or lower abdomen is one of the earliest warning signs of ovarian cancer, combined with a feeling of fullness in the abdomen. A patient should contact their doctor immediately if the pain is recurrent or severe, or if they can't get any relief by lying on one side to relieve the pain.
    Can pelvic pain be connected to other causes besides having a menstrual period or a benign ovarian cyst?
    Ovarian cancer is unusual, but not impossible, during the childbearing years. Most cases occur between the ages of 55 to 64. Pelvic pain is one of the early warning signs of ovarian cancer, especially if it's connected with bloating, vomiting, nausea, and back pain.