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September 7, 2020

Constant Bloating or Something More? Common Signs of Ovarian Cancer

Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP

This September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, and a woman's risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about one in 78. Even though it is more common in women over age 63, it’s never too early to learn the signs of ovarian cancer. 

The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Bloating.
  • Pelvic or belly pain, as well as abdominal swelling with weight loss.
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly.
  • Urinary symptoms, such as urgency and increased frequency.
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness).
  • Upset stomach.
  • Back pain.
  • Pain during sex.
  • Constipation.
  • Changes in menstruation, such as heavier than normal or irregular bleeding.

While these symptoms may also be caused by other conditions, if you experience many of them more than 12 times a month, schedule a telehealth visit with your health care provider, such as a nurse practitioner (NP). They can help determine the cause of the problem and next steps for treatment, if necessary.