What Are the Symptoms Associated With Ovarian Cancer?

In its early stages, ovarian cancer often has no symptoms. For this reason, nearly 75 percent of women who develop this disease have already progressed past the early stage when they are first diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Even in its later stages, ovarian cancer may be associated with vague and often ignored symptoms. As the tumor enlarges, the woman may complain of feeling bloated and full and she may noticed that her abdomen seems puffy or swollen. Some women experience nausea, indigestion, gas, loss of appetite and weight loss. Others complain of problems with urination and changes in bowel habits. Less frequently, unexplained vaginal bleeding may occur. Shortness of breath may result if fluid buildup from the abdomen collects near the lungs.

External Resources

Ovarian Cancer: Screening, Treatment, and Follow-up. Washington, DC: NIH Consensus Statement; April 5-7;12(3):1-30.
Ovarian Epithelial Treatment Information National Cancer Institute Database. July 1999. PDQ publication.
What You Need To Know about Ovarian Cancer. Publication of the National Institutes of Health. Washington, DC: revised October 1993. NIH Publication 94-1561.
Screening Summary for Health Professionals: Ovarian Cancer National Cancer Institute Database. July 1999.
The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition @ www.ovarian.org/main/html
Is There an Effective Way to Screen Women for Ovarian Cancer?