Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer
A sign is something that can be observed and recognized by a doctor or healthcare professional (for example, a rash). A symptom is something that only the person experiencing it can feel and know (for example, pain or tiredness). Ovarian cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. Symptoms appear once the tumour grows into surrounding tissues and organs.
The signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer can also be caused by other health conditions. It is important to have any unusual symptoms checked by a doctor.
Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- abnormal vaginal bleeding
- a lump that can be felt (palpable) in the pelvic or abdominal area
- need to urinate often (frequency)
- intense need to urinate (urgency)
- changes to digestion (such as difficulty eating, feeling full after a small meal, heartburn, gas , indigestion or nausea)
- feeling of pressure in the pelvic or abdominal area
- pain in the legs, lower back, pelvis or abdomen
- bloating (swelling of the abdomen)
- painful intercourse
Other signs and symptoms may also occur with some types of ovarian cancer. Symptoms of stromal tumours include:
- early puberty
- breast enlargement or tenderness
- menstrual irregularity in premenopausal women
- vaginal spotting in post-menopausal women
- hardening of the tissues of the vagina in post-menopausal women
- secondary male sex characteristics (such as increased growth of body and facial hair, deepened voice, male-pattern baldness or enlargement of the clitoris)
Symptoms of germ cell tumours include:
- early puberty
Late signs and symptoms
Late signs and symptoms occur as the cancer grows larger or spreads to other parts of the body, including other organs.
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What’s the lifetime risk of getting cancer?
The latest Canadian Cancer Statistics report shows about half of Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.