The majority of ovarian cancers are diagnosed late, after the cancers have spread. Only about 20% of women are diagnosed early, when the disease may be most curable.
Ovarian cancer used to be considered a "silent killer." Symptoms were thought to appear only when the cancer was in an advanced stage. Now, doctors know this is not generally true. Even early-stage ovarian cancer can produce symptoms.
Possible early ovarian cancer symptoms include the following:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Urgent or frequent urination
- Difficulty eating or feeling full very quickly
The researchers note that women who have these problems should see a gynecologist for cancer screening if these problems are new, if the symptoms are severe, and if they have been present continuously for over two to three weeks.