Join our global movement to raise awareness of this deadly disease, at The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. Since 2013, our Advocate Leaders have raised awareness through news articles and advertisements, developed relationships with their elected officials and fought for increased funding for ovarian cancer research throughout the country.
Symptoms and Detection of Ovarian Cancer
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
For years, women have known that ovarian cancer was not the silent killer it was said to be. Over the past decade, science has confirmed what women have long known: ovarian cancer has symptoms.
Women with ovarian cancer report that symptoms are persistent and represent a change from normal for their bodies. The frequency and/or number of such symptoms are key factors in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Several studies show that even early stage ovarian cancer can produce these symptoms.
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
See your doctor, preferably a gynecologist, if you have these symptoms more than 12 times during the course of one month and the symptoms are new or unusual for you.
You have been diagnosed
Need to talk with someone? We are available to answer your questions. You can call the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance at (202) 331-1332 or email us for further assistance.
A Checklist to Guide Your First Steps:
- Find a gynecologic oncologist to help treat you
- Ask your doctor about enrolling in a clinical trial
- Find support online and in your community
- Call or email us if you have questions or need to talk.
First things first: find a gynecologic oncologist to treat you. Many studies conducted over the past decade have shown that an ovarian cancer patient’s chance of survival is significantly improved when a gynecologic oncologist performs her surgery. Some studies showed survival rates as much as 50 percent greater, compared to women whose surgeries were done by surgeons less experienced in the techniques used to treat ovarian cancer.
To find a gynecologic oncologist in your area:
- Ask your primary care doctor or gynecologist for a referral
- Visit the Foundation for Women’s Cancer website to search for a gynecologic oncologist near you
- Call the nearest hospital or community-based cancer center
Our website can guide you through some of the common questions about clinical trials.
If you want to look for a clinical trial, we offer a free matching service for women with ovarian cancer or you can search for information from the National Institutes of Health.
Then find support services. Our online community will connect you to more than 19,000 people who have been touched by ovarian cancer. You can also search our list of Partner Member groups throughout the world, many of whom offer in-person support.
Finally, remember to call or email us if you need assistance.
In 2007, the Alliance and other leading cancer organizations endorsed a consensus statement on ovarian cancer symptoms.
As medical research continues to investigate this important issue, numerous studies have been published indicating that symptoms may not occur until late stage or that they may not improve health outcomes.
The Alliance believes that symptoms are important, but they are not a definitive diagnostic tool. Since there is no diagnostic tool for ovarian cancer, symptom awareness remains of key importance. Being aware of symptoms can help women get diagnosed sooner. Early stage diagnosis is associated with an improved prognosis.
Other Symptoms Associated with Ovarian Cancer
Several other symptoms have been commonly reported by women with ovarian cancer. These symptoms include fatigue, indigestion, back pain, pain with intercourse, constipation and menstrual irregularities. However, these other symptoms are not as useful in identifying ovarian cancer because they are also found in equal frequency in women in the general population who do not have ovarian cancer.
The Ovarian Cancer Dream Team has been chosen!
We wanted to be sure our community is among the first to know about the research project that was selected. This research could have a tremendous impact on ovarian cancer treatment–we can’t wait to see how it progresses!
The Dream Team will focus on “DNA Repair Therapies for Ovarian Cancer,” building on recent advances that have identified DNA repair as a common weakness in ovarian cancer. Researchers will also explore the prevention and early detection of ovarian cancer by developing a web-based approach to genetic testing and counseling. Dream Team researchers hope to offer women identified as genetically high risk a choice of surgical options, including one that removes the fallopian tubes but spares the ovaries.
The Dream Team grant will provide funding over a three-year period, starting in July 2015.
Friday, May 8, is the third annual World Ovarian Cancer Day. Join our global movement to raise awareness of this deadly disease. Submit your photos and videos to be included in a special World Ovarian Cancer Day video. Expand this story to see a special video from Maya Soetoro-Ng, President Obama’s sister, about losing their mother to ovarian cancer and why that moved her to join our World Ovarian Cancer Day campaign.
Whether you are newly diagnosed, a longtime survivor or a caregiver, you are sure to find hope and inspiration at our 2015 Ovarian Cancer National Conference.
Join us in San Diego July 24-26 for this life-changing weekend.