Community Views: Initial Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
Paying attention to your body and knowing what is normal can provide clues when something is wrong. However, ovarian cancer symptoms often mimic other conditions. This means it can be easy to brush them off or chalk them up to something else. If you are having symptoms that seem out of the ordinary for you, a visit to your doctor is key.1
To help inform others about the symptoms they experienced at the start of their ovarian cancer journey and raise awareness, we turned to the AdvancedOvarianCancer.net Facebook page. There, we asked community members to tell us: "What were your initial ovarian cancer symptoms?"
Here is a look at some of the insightful responses we received.
Pain and bloating
It is normal for many women to feel bloated and crampy during their period. However, bloating that does not go away and pain in the abdomen and back are some of the most common symptoms of bladder cancer. Unfortunately, many women brush these symptoms off as nothing to be concerned about or something else.1,2"Severe abdominal pain.""Pain in my upper abdomen.""Bloating and abdominal distention.""Dull abdominal ache.""Had abdominal pain and backache. But with a history of kidney stones, I thought that was it. Finally couldn't urinate and went to the ER. No kidney stone, but stage 3 ovarian cancer.""Lower back pain.""Bloating stomach.""My abdomen was so sore.""I just had the bloating feeling."
Our day-to-day lives are often so busy that feeling tired is normal. But the fatigue that can come with ovarian cancer can be all-encompassing. It is the type of extreme tiredness that does not go away no matter how much you sleep or rest.
"Being tired all the time.""I just felt tired."
In some cases, ovarian cancer can cause changes to your period, such as heavy or irregular bleeding. While period changes are not one of the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about any differences to your cycle. They can help determine what might be causing the changes.3"Severe cramps with heavy bleeding.""I started spotting.""Long, heavy, messy, painful periods."
Another health issue
Some community members shared that they had no symptoms before discovering they had ovarian cancer. This is not unusual, especially during the early stages of ovarian cancer. In the case of our community members, ovarian cancer was only detected after they had sought care for another health issue or because they had symptoms that mirrored the flu.
"Nothing. Found it when I had gall bladder surgery.""Being pregnant. That's how they found it. I was vomiting.""Thought I had the flu. Wrong. Stage 4.""I was pregnant and miscarried mid-term. I was suspicious when they also said the ovarian cysts we had been monitoring looked unusually complex. I've had PCOS all my life, so I wasn't alarmed at first by the cysts. But the maternal-fetal medicine doctor seemed upset, so I knew something was different during ultrasounds."
Thank you for sharing
Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences with this story. We appreciate your contributions, which can help those new to the community learn more about the ovarian cancer journey.
Tell us about your experiences in the comments. What were your initial ovarian cancer symptoms?
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