Ovarian cancer

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Symptoms of ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. Signs and symptoms often appear as the tumour grows and causes changes in the body. Other health conditions can cause the same symptoms as ovarian cancer.

The signs or symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • bleeding from the vagina that isn’t normal (such as heavy or irregular bleeding, bleeding between periods), especially after menopause
  • frequent discharge from the vagina that is clear, white or coloured with blood
  • a lump that can be felt in the pelvis or abdomen
  • bladder problems such as the need to urinate often and the urgent need to urinate
  • constipation
  • changes to digestion such as difficulty eating, feeling full after a small meal, heartburn, gas, indigestion or nausea
  • frequent feeling of pressure in the pelvis or abdomen
  • fatigue
  • pain in the legs, lower back, pelvis or abdomen
  • pain when having sex
  • swelling of the abdomen
  • weight loss
  • buildup of fluid in the abdomen (ascites), around the lungs (pleural effusion) or in the legs (lymphedema)
  • difficulty breathing


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Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.

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