ZocdocAnswersWhat are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?

Question

What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?

How do you know if you have ovarian cancer? I often abdominal cramping that just doesn't seem related to my periods, and sometimes experience excessively heavy menstrual bleeding. I'd probably be more nonchalant about these issues, but I have a family history of cancer.

Answer

Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage because this type of malignancy tends to present with vague and non-specific symptoms. These symptoms may include a sensation of abdominal or pelvic bloating, increase in abdominal girth, nausea, feeling full after a light meal, and an increase in the frequency of urination or a sense of urgency to urinate. Frank abdominal and pelvic pain may also be experienced. Heavy menstrual bleeding is not typically associated with ovarian cancer. If you are having any symptoms that are concerning to you, then you should see your primary care doctor or gynecologist for further work-up. Further investigation would include a physical exam (including pelvic and rectal exams), and typically the first imaging test that is performed is a pelvic ultrasound exam.

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