Subtle Signs of Ovarian Cancer Can Combine To Become Serious Symptoms

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Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer and Signs

Ovarian cancer is the second-most common gynecological cancer in women, but it is the most deadly of cancers. Much like pancreatic cancer, its symptoms are subtle and sometimes are not recognized until it is too late for effective treatment.

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"Most women who are diagnosed with it are already in the advanced stages, when the outcomes are poor," says Dr. Barbara Goff, professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the University of Washington School of Medicine. "Women who are diagnosed in the early stages of the illness have cure rates between 70 and 90 percent, but women who are diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer have only a 30 percent cure rate."

So far, there is no reliable screening tool for ovarian cancer: nothing like the pap smear for cervical cancer or the mammogram for breast cancer. Goff says a lot of exciting research is looking at blood proteins and chemical markers that could someday provide a routine test. For now, her research shows that the symptoms of early ovarian cancer may be the best available means of spotting the disease.

Individual symptoms on the list are very common, and can show up once or twice a month, especially around the menstrual period, without being signs of ovarian cancer.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer

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