Know The Symptoms

Until there's a test, awareness is best!

The Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Consensus Statement below was adopted in 2007 based on current research and was endorsed by many organizations. See more info and endorsing organizations at the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation website.

The Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Consensus Statement

Historically ovarian cancer was called the “silent killer” because symptoms were not thought to develop until the chance of cure was poor. However, recent studies have shown this term is untrue and that the following symptoms are much more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than women in the general population. These symptoms include:

  • Bloating

  • Pelvic or abdominal pain

  • Urinary urgency or frequency

  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly

Women with ovarian cancer report that symptoms are persistent and represent a change from normal for their bodies. The frequency and/or number of such symptoms are key factors in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Several studies show that even early stage ovarian cancer can produce these symptoms.

Women who have these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks should see their doctor, preferably a gynecologist. Prompt medical evaluation may lead to detection at the earliest possible stage of the disease. Early stage diagnosis is associated with an improved prognosis.

Several other symptoms have been commonly reported by women with ovarian cancer. These symptoms include fatigue, indigestion, back pain, pain with intercourse, constipation and menstrual irregularities. However, these other symptoms are not as useful in identifying ovarian cancer because they are also found in equal frequency in women in the general population who do not have ovarian cancer.

Source: Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance
www.ovariancancer.org/about/symptoms-of-ovarian-cancer-detection

Symptom Diary

The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance has published a Symptom Diary that can be used to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of ovarian cancer.


Symptoms of Granulosa Cell Tumors

Another, very rare form of ovarian cancer presents a different set of symptoms that are also important to be aware of. Granulosa cell tumors (GCTs) are rare ovarian tumors in the stromal cell group that present with the following symptoms:

Postmenopausal Women:

Abnormal uterine bleeding
Diagnosis of endometrial hyperplasia (thickening of the uterus that causes bleeding) or cancer
Breast tenderness
Vaginal secretions
Virilizing symptoms due to increased testosterone (When a woman starts to show male pattern traits like facial hair growth, for example.)

Premenopausal Women:

Increased abdominal girth
Enlarging abdominal mass
Period Irregularities

Prepubertal Girls:

Early onset puberty (70-80%) with early male trait characteristics
Virilizing symptoms due to increased testosterone (When a woman starts to show male pattern traits like facial hair growth, for example.)​

Source: Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance
www.ovariancancer.org/about/symptoms-of-ovarian-cancer-detection