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Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women. Because symptoms are often vague or nonexistent, ovarian cancer is difficult to detect and too often reaches an advanced stage, making treatment that much more difficult.

Early detection is vital in the successful treatment of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer symptoms have recently received more attention in the media and magazines in an effort to educate women about this often deadly form of cancer.

Women should be sensitive to the following symptoms and contact their physicians if they persist:

  • General discomfort in the lower abdomen, including any of the following:
    • Feeling swollen or bloated
    • A loss of appetite or a feeling of fullness - even after a light meal
    • Gas, indigestion, and nausea
    • Pain during sex
    • Vaginal bleeding
    • Diarrhea or constipation, or frequent urination caused by the growing tumor, which may press on nearby organs, such as the bowel or bladder
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling very tired all the time
  • Build up of fluid around the lungs, which may cause shortness of breath

If any of these symptoms occur almost daily or last a few weeks and are new, the woman should talk with her doctor.