Knowing Symptoms Saves Lives.
Each year, 22,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. To date, there's no effective screening tool (like a mammogram recognizes breast tumors, or a pap smear can detect cervical cancer). Therefore, diagnosis of ovarian cancer relies heavily on patient symptoms. It's imperative that women know the early signs and take action to improve their survival outcome.
FACT: Only about 20% of ovarian cancers are found at an early stage. 80% of women are diagnosed with advanced disease that's spread through the abdominal cavity. When ovarian cancer is found early, about 94% of patients live longer than 5 years after diagnosis.
Knowing Symptoms Saves Lives!
What We've Learned from Survivors
Women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer report their symptoms were persistent and a change from normal for their body. See your doctor (preferably a gynecologist) if you experience any of the following for more than two weeks:
Bloating or abdominal swelling.
Trouble Eating or feeling full quickly.
Pelvic or abdominal pain - gas, nausea, indigestion.
Feeling the Need to Urinate Urgently or Frequently.
If a women has signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, her doctor will perform a pelvic exam, a transvaginal ultrasound, and order a CA-125 blood test.
Transvaginal Ultrasound - uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your internal organs. It can help detect a mass (tumor) in the ovary, but it can't actually determine if a mass is cancerous or benign. If a mass is found, surgery is the next step.
CA-125 test measures the amount of the protein CA 125 (cancer antigen 125) in your blood. High amounts of CA-125 in the blood (generally more than 35 units per mL) could be a sign of ovarian cancer. Physicians also look at CA-125 levels to determine if the cancer is responding to chemotherapy and to monitor for recurrence.