Ovarian Cancer SymptomsThis year, more than 22,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and about 14,000 women will die from it. Early detection can be the key to survival and that’s why every woman should know the warning signs of ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is rare in women younger than 40. Most ovarian cancers develop after menopause and half of all ovarian cancers are found in women 63 years of age or older.

The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are pelvic or abdominal pain; trouble eating or feeling full quickly or feeling the need to urinate urgently or often. Some women may experience fatigue; an upset stomach or heartburn; back pain; pain during sex, constipation or menstrual changes.

Having these symptoms doesn’t mean you have ovarian cancer, but you should see your doctor right away if you experience this for more than two weeks and changing your diet or exercise or getting more rest doesn’t resolve the problem.


We don’t know exactly what causes ovarian cancer, but pregnancy and the use of birth control pills have been shown to lower the risk. Both reduce the number of times the ovaries release an egg and some researchers think there could be a connection between ovulation and the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer ranges in severity from Stage 1 to Stage 4, with Stage 1 being limited to the ovaries and fallopian tubes. By the time ovarian cancer reaches Stage 4 it could have spread to the spleen, liver, lungs, lymph nodes or bones.

Up to 93% of women diagnosed with Stage 1 ovarian cancer may survive at least five years. For Stage 2 that might drop to 61%. The Stage 3 survival rate may be just 28% and only 19% of women with Stage 4 ovarian cancer might survive for five years.

Ovarian cancer may be difficult to diagnose at an early stage because the ovaries are deep within the abdominal cavity and you might not feel any symptoms. An annual pelvic exam is important because your doctor can look for other warning signs. By knowing the symptoms and having annual exams, you can improve the odds for early detection that can beat ovarian cancer.

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax