Ovarian cancer is a difficult disease to detect, says Marla Ahlgrimm, a retired pharmacist and women’s health entrepreneur. In its early stages, women often have symptoms that are little more than a nuisance. However, even something as simple as bloating shouldn’t be taken lightly if experienced alongside other common complications.
According to Marla Ahlgrimm, the four main symptoms of ovarian cancer include bloating; pelvic or abdominal pain; frequent, urgent urination; and trouble eating. These issues rarely cause alarm when presenting individually but warrant further investigation when experienced together or in conjunction with constant fatigue, back pain, persistent heartburn, or changes in the menstrual cycle. Painful intercourse is also common.
Marla Ahlgrimm asserts that, even when experienced together, the symptoms do not necessarily point to ovarian cancer. However, if persistent problems don’t resolve with normal intervention methods – diet, exercise, sleep, etc. – these signs may be indicative of issues that a woman should discuss with her primary care provider or OB/GYN.
Ovarian cancer statistics
Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths in women between the ages of 35 and 74 years. The American Cancer Society anticipates an annual average of more than 22,000 new diagnoses and more than 14,000 fatalities, Marla Ahlgrimm reports. Early diagnosis and intervention is the key to survival with those diagnosed during stage I or stage II – about 20% of all cases – enjoying a 90% survival rate. Late-stage ovarian cancer is more difficult to treat with mortality rates exceeding 70% within a five year timeframe.
Marla Ahlgrimm says there are more than 30 types of ovarian cancer. These are classified according to the type of cell where the cancer began. Cancerous tumors are graded and treated based on location, stage, and classification.
For more information on ovarian cancer visit ovarian.org.