Ovarian cancer affects over 20,000 US women each year, and about 40 women die every day from it. “Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.” Thankfully, “the rate at which women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer has been slowly falling over the past 20 years”, per the American Cancer Society.
Since there is no tool to diagnose ovarian cancer, it’s important to know the symptoms. This will help women get a quicker diagnosis, which will result in an improved prognosis and a longer life for an ovarian cancer survivor.
Common symptoms of Ovarian Cancer, according to the South Carolina Ovarian Cancer Foundation:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- Back pain
- Pain with intercourse
- Menstrual irregularities
On the other hand, here are some common myths about ovarian cancer that you need to ignore:
- If you have a family history of ovarian cancer then you’re doomed to get it
- If there’s no family history of ovarian cancer then you don’t have to worry about it
- An annual Pap smear test will catch ovarian cancer
- There are no early symptoms of ovarian cancer
- You can’t prevent ovarian cancer
- Ovarian cancer is a death sentence
- There is one cause of ovarian cancer
- Ovarian cysts can turn into cancer
- The HPV vaccine protects against ovarian cancer
As far as symptoms go, there is another important one, a major red flag that most women would not recognize, according to research by Target Ovarian Cancer. A major charity “surveyed 1,000 women to determine their knowledge of the risk and protection factors of ovarian cancer. Overall, just one percent knew that feeling the frequent need to urinate is a symptom of the disease.”
All of the symptoms of cancer, including the need to urinate more frequently or more urgently, can occur because an abdominal mass is pushing on surrounding organs, including the bladder.
Of course, there are many other reasons for having to take bathroom breaks more often – an increase in your water consumption, pregnancy, or having a condition like diabetes. But, it’s important to realize, especially if you’re experiencing other signs of ovarian cancer, that your frequent urination could mean something more serious.
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