Ovarian Cancer: Women Should NOT Ignore These 4 Warning Signs!

Ovarian cancer is one of the most common gynecologic cancers, with over 20,000 women in the United States receiving an ovarian cancer diagnosis each year. Unfortunately, ovarian cancer is difficult to detect in its early stages when the disease is most treatable.

That’s why it’s critically important for women to understand the early warning signs of ovarian cancer and take action if they experience any persistent or worsening symptoms. Detecting ovarian cancer in its early stages can significantly improve prognosis and survival outcomes.

The four major symptoms of ovarian cancer that women should not ignore include abdominal bloating, feeling full quickly when eating, pelvic pain, and urinary changes like urgency and frequency. Paying attention to your body and being aware of these key ovarian cancer symptoms is vital. 

If you notice any of these symptoms almost daily for two weeks or more, make an appointment with your doctor right away for an evaluation. Ovarian cancer has a high cure rate if caught early before the disease spreads.

What Are The Causes Of Ovarian Cancer?

Causes Of Ovarian Cancer

Before looking at the symptoms of ovarian cancer, let’s look at its probable ovarian cancer causes.

Family history and genetics: Over 20% of ovarian cancer cases are linked to inherited gene mutations like BRCA1 or BRCA2. Having close relatives with ovarian, breast, uterine, or colorectal cancer boosts the risk.

Reproductive history: Women who never had children or who struggled with infertility have a higher ovarian cancer risk.

Hormone therapy: Using menopausal hormone therapy is associated with increased ovarian cancer risk.  

Endometriosis: This disorder where tissue similar to the uterine lining grows outside the uterus can raise ovarian cancer odds.

Lifestyle factors: Obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking may contribute to ovarian cancer risk.

• Spontaneous mutations: Most ovarian cancers develop randomly from genetic changes within the ovaries themselves, with no identifiable cause.

• While some risk factors cannot be controlled, being aware empowers prevention. Lifestyle changes and protective measures can reduce ovarian cancer risk.

4 Major Ovarian Cancer Warning Signs

In order for one to understand and get appropriate treatment for ovarian cancer one has to be aware of the first symptoms of ovarian cancer.

This will equip people to understand how to check for ovarian cancer at home, thereby catching the cancer before too late. Now, let’s take a look at some of the first symptoms of ovarian cancer you should be vary of.

1. Abdominal Bloating

Abdominal bloating is one of the most common and first symptoms of ovarian cancer symptoms. Bloating occurs when the abdomen feels swollen or full. It may cause a stretched, tight feeling in the skin of the abdomen. Or it can feel like gas, pressure, or cramps in the belly. 

Persistent bloating that occurs almost daily for multiple weeks is not normal. It warrants a trip to the doctor to determine the underlying cause, which could be ovarian cancer. With ovarian cancer, bloating is sometimes associated with increased abdominal girth or size. 

So take note if your pants or skirts feel tighter or you look noticeably more distended—that points to bloating that needs medical evaluation.

Don’t assume regular bloating is just digestive issues. Persistent bloating, especially when combined with other symptoms like pelvic pain or feeling full fast when eating, may indicate ovarian cancer.

2. Feeling Full Quickly When Eating

Feeling extremely full fast when you eat, to the point of loss of appetite, is another telltale symptom of ovarian cancer. This occurs because ovarian tumors can press on the stomach. Early satiety, or feeling prematurely full before finishing normal portions of food, should prompt concern. 

Additionally, other eating changes like heartburn, indigestion, gas, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain can signal ovarian cancer.

Pay attention if your capacity to eat large meals becomes reduced without reasonable explanation, like major changes in diet or lifestyle. These mild dietary adjustments typically occur in the early stages of this cancer.

Also, note that even the symptoms may fluctuate and not always be present. What matters most is consistent changes over weeks, paying attention to differences from your norm.

3. Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain and abdominal pain represent other common signs of ovarian cancer, particularly as the disease advances.

Pain results from the ovarian tumor growing and spreading in the pelvis and abdomen. The pain may occur sporadically, persistently, or constantly. It can be mild, moderate, or severe. 

The quality of the pain also varies, described as sharp, achy, cramping, dull, or heavy. Pain may start manifesting as mere twinges of pelvic pain and gradually worsen. Pain may radiate to the lower back and thighs as well. 

Sometimes early ovarian tumors can bleed or leak fluid, causing sudden intense localized pain from cyst rupture.

Bottom line: Recurrent pelvic or abdominal pain, especially with increasing intensity, warrants medical investigation. Catching subtle pain early when ovarian cancer is most treatable gives the best odds.

4. Urinary Changes

Changes in urinary patterns like increased frequency and urgency of urination represent another potential early clue. Needing to wake up often in the night to urinate more frequently can indicate ovarian cancer.

Feeling a persistent urge to void but not passing much urine or not feeling bladder relief also commonly happens. Incontinence or involuntary leakage of urine may also develop. 

What’s happening is the ovaries sit next to the bladder, so ovarian cancer can irritate the bladder and cause these urinary symptoms.

Additionally, when an ovarian tumor grows large, it can physically press on and squeeze the bladder too. Pay attention to urinary changes, because they often show up early. 

Tracking symptoms in a diary helps. Note whether new incontinence occurs alongside symptoms like abdominal bloating or pelvic pain. Recognizing subtle but consistent changes delivers hope.


Ovarian cancer used to be called the “silent killer” because symptoms are easy to overlook until advanced stages when the odds of survival drop. That’s why early warning signs deserve vigilance to counteract. Paying attention to your own body equips you. 

Recognizing emerging patterns like persistent bloating, early satiety when eating, pelvic pain, or urinary changes means ovarian cancer stands the best chance of detection in the critical window for intervention.

If identified early, ovarian cancer survival rates exceed 90 percent. Yet sadly over half of ovarian cancer cases still get diagnosed at advanced stages of spread outside the ovaries, bringing survival odds down below 30 percent.

Don’t let ovarian cancer surprise you sneakily. Instead, leverage vigilance and clinical care. Spread hope in place of helplessness against ovarian cancer risk. Seize your authority to vanquish this disease through prompt responsiveness. Who’s with me on that ovarian cancer-fighting mission?


Dr. Nicola Fawcet is a highly regarded Consultant in General Medicine known for her expertise in providing comprehensive medical care with a focus on holistic patient well-being. With a passion for internal medicine, Dr. Fawcet has dedicated her career to delivering high-quality healthcare and improving patient outcomes.

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