Symptoms and Signs of Ovarian Cancer

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Ovarian Cancer Symptoms and Signs

ovarian cancer symptoms infographic

Local spread may cause:

  • Pain, distension, heaviness in abdomen
  • Increased urinary frequency or urgency
  • Abdominal bloating or constipation

Anyone or combination of these ovary cancer symptoms, when present in a woman is 5th to 7th decade of life, is highly suspicious for ovary cancer.

Distant spread may cause:

  • Breathlessness, cough, chest pain
  • Jaundice

Most common sites of spread of ovarian cancer are liver and lung.

These symptoms can also be experienced due to certain other benign conditions. Other ovarian cancer symptoms include fatigue, backache, menstrual changes, and unexplained weight loss.

Germ cell tumor usually presents as a rapidly enlarging solid mass in the pelvis in women younger than 35 years of age.

Symptoms indicating an excess or abnormal hormonal production (estrogen or androgen) may signal sex cord-stromal tumor.

Symptoms depending on Stage of Ovarian Cancer

In early stages, the patient is mostly asymptomatic. When the ovarian mass enlarges in size, it may cause non-specific lower abdominal symptoms like bloating, constipation, urinary complaints, etc due to involvement of adjacent structures like bladder, rectum, etc. Presence of ascitic fluid and/or large peritoneal deposits may cause abdominal distension and/or discomfort.

Spread of ovarian cancer to distant organs like lungs, pleura, liver may cause symptoms depending on the site of involvement. For example, pleural effusion or lung parenchyma involvement may cause breathlessness, chest discomfort, etc. Significant liver parenchymal involvement may cause jaundice.

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