Ovarian cancer may cause one or more of the following signs and symptoms:
- Vaginal bleeding (particularly if you are past menopause) or discharge from your vagina that is not normal for you.
- Pain or pressure in the pelvic or abdominal area (the area below your stomach and in between your hip bones)
- Back pain
- Bloating, which is when the area below your stomach swells or feels full. • Feeling full too quickly or difficulty eating
- A change in your bathroom habits, such as more frequent or urgent need to urinate and/ or constipation
Pay attention to your body, and know what is normal for you. If you have vaginal bleeding that is not normal for you, see a doctor right away. If you have any of the other signs for two weeks or longer, see a doctor. These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see your doctor. Treatment is most effective when ovarian cancer is found and treated early.
The fact sheet below about ovarian cancer is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Inside Knowledge: About Gynecologic Cancer campaign. The campaign helps women get the facts about gynecologic cancer, providing important “inside knowledge” about their bodies and health.
Sue's Gift also takes an active role in the community educating women as to the warning signs of ovarian cancer.
These subtle symptoms, often used with the acronym B.E.A.T. (as in B.E.A.T. ovarian cancer):
I was diagnosed on October 20, 2004 with stage IV ovarian cancer. On Monday, October 25th I had a radical hysterectomy in which the uterus, cervix, both ovaries and Fallopian tubes as well as nearby tissue were removed. The diagnosis itself was very hard to take, due to the low percentage of survival, but my doctor instilled a lot of trust and the nurses at the chemo treatments were wonderful. Fortunately, my insurance covered 100% of my surgery.
My faith, my husband and sisters helped me get through it all. My brothers were supportive but didn’t really know what to do. Co-workers were incredibly supportive as were my American friends. It was hard being in the USA since all my family and my main friends were in Mexico. It was hard, however, in a way now I think it was good for me to realize how much support I had.
This is what I learned that might be helpful to others:
I'm single and moved to Colorado in December 2017, not knowing anyone. Two months later I started having abdominal pain which led to a complete hysterectomy and in May of 2018, a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, stage 2B.
Luckily for me, two of my sisters were able to travel from Minnesota to support me thru the surgery, recovery and six rounds of chemo. I feared chemotherapy, so I was surprised when I had little-to-no nausea. I did NOT miss my hair at all – I actually enjoyed being bald – it saved me so much time! But I DID miss my eyelashes.
I was lucky to have found a pretty good church in my small town, so on Sundays, I would stock up on hugs to get thru the week. It may sound strange but being almost two years out, I see my cancer as a gift, albeit a tough gift. Cancer has shown me how strong I am and it has made me see everything in my life more clearly. I no longer sweat the small stuff. I realize how important it is to spend time with my friends and family. I spend less time looking in the mirror (or at the bathroom scale) and more time looking into the eyes of people I care about…one of the good side effects of cancer.