Ovarian cancer is very serious, and if not treated quickly and efficiently, it can be fatal. Many women do not recognize the symptoms of ovarian cancer, and often think they are going through normal hormonal changes – ignoring the problem and seeking help too late.
The Most Common Symptoms
The first sign of ovarian cancer is typically abnormal bleeding, but most information will focus primarily on the other symptoms that often accompany the abnormal bleeding that are so often overlooked.
These symptoms include pelvic discomfort or all-out pelvic pain. Continual nausea, gas, or indigestion, abdominal pressure, a frequent urge to urinate, loss of appetite, lack of energy, lower back pain, and constipation.
Seeing Your Doctor
Anytime there are changes in your body that last for more than a week or so, you need to see a doctor. It is also vital that you have a pap smear at least once each year to catch ovarian cancer or cervical cancer as early as possible. The earlier the cancer is found, the more likely you are to survive the experience. Make sure that you report any difference or changes in your body to your doctor.
Risk Factors Associated with Ovarian Cancer
There are many things beyond your control that could raise your risk of ovarian cancer, just as there are things that are in your control that could increase or decrease your risk of ovarian cancer.
A small number of the people who develop ovarian cancer do so due to an inherited gene mutation. If you have a history of ovarian cancer, or any other type of cancer in your family, your risks are increased. If you have previously had any type of cancer, your chances of developing ovarian cancer are dramatically increased.
Women who have taken hormone replacement therapy after or during menopause are at increased risk, and remarkably, women who have never been pregnant have a higher instance of ovarian cancer. Of course, having a poor diet and smoking will also significantly increase your risks of ovarian cancer and other types of cancer.
Once you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you will need treatment, and of course, you should start taking preventative measures to avoid a repeat of the situation – but it is best to take those preventative measures and make necessary changes before you are ever diagnosed with cancer.
Cervical Cancer Symptoms
If you are female, you have a cervix – unless that cervix has been surgically removed, such as through hysterectomy. If you have a cervix, you are at risk of developing cervical cancer at some point in your life. As a woman, you need to be aware of cervical cancer symptoms, since your survival depends on catching cancer as early as possible.
Causes of Cervical Cancer
More research is needed to determine all of the potential causes of cervical cancer, but we do know that the HPV virus can lead to this type of cancer. If you are aged twenty six or younger, you should talk to your doctor about the HPV shot to reduce your chances of developing cervical cancer later on. HPV is spread through sexual contact.
Symptoms to Be Aware Of
Abnormal bleeding from the vagina is one of the first signs that cervical cancer may be present, but this could also be a sign for many other types of female problems as well. Women who have cervical cancer may also have a heavy vaginal discharge, and this discharge may be foul smelling, or have no odor at all.
Pain in the pelvic region is not unusual for women who have cervical cancer, but there may be no pain at all. You may or may not experience painful urination or sexual intercourse as well. Bleeding is the main symptom to look for – particularly if it happens between periods, after or during sex, or after or while douching.
Testing for Cervical Cancer
The test for cervical cancer is done with a pap smear, also known as a cervical smear or pap test. This requires a gynecological examination. A swab is used to take cell samples from the cervix, and then sent to a lab for testing. If the test shows abnormal cells, a cervical biopsy may be required for further testing to see if cervical cancer exists. This biopsy does not require the removal of the cervix, and it does not require surgery.
If cervical cancer exists, surgery will most likely be performed to remove the cancer, and then depending on the stage of the cancer, and whether or not it has spread, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of the two may be required as well.