In order to aid in early detection, women should take the necessary time to learn about the ovarian cancer signs and symptoms that can indicate the presence of tumors in the ovaries. The different types of cancer of the ovaries include sex cord-stromal tumors, gram cell tumors, and epithelial carcinoma. Survival rates differ between the different types of tumors, with those of the gram cell variety having the best prognosis. In addition, the rate of detection also plays a large part in the survival rate of patients. Those who are detected in the early stages of the condition enjoy a reasonably good survival rate of 92.7%. On the other hand, cases that are detected at later stages only have a 45.5% chance of survival. This is in part due to the actual tumors. Early stages often have no symptoms and the tumors can easily spread to other pelvic areas before any of the signs of ovarian cancer is noticed. With this wide range of survival rates, it is imperative that any woman who has an elevated risk of ovarian cancer becomes familiar with the ovarian cancer warning signs.
As there are no specific ovarian cancer symptoms, the first warning signs were classified using an index system. The index was comprised of the following symptoms: pelvic pain, fullness, abdominal size increases, abdominal pain, bloating, and difficulty eating food. The index also involved the frequency of these symptoms. If a woman experienced twelve or more instances in the course of a month and the duration of the symptoms was less than a year, then ovarian cancer was considered as a possible cause of the complications. With a 57% rate of sensitivity, the index was somewhat successful, but other, more accurate methods of detection were needed. The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation answered this call by conducting a study in 2007 to definitively address the symptoms of ovarian cancer. While the previously mentioned symptoms were included in the possible ovarian cancer signs, the foundation also included the following symptoms to the list: pain during sexual intercourse, leg pain, pain in the back, urinary issues, diarrhea, chronic indigestion, constipation, breathing troubles, and abnormal vaginal bleeding. Any woman that experiences these relatively common symptoms in a severe or persistent manner should alert their local doctor to schedule a screening for ovarian cancer.
A local physician will address the concerns by having a series of tests done to determine if ovarian cancer is a cause of the symptoms. In addition to general blood tests, the physician will most likely also test specific serum electrolyte levels to detect any possible aberrations. There is still no definitive test to identify cancer of the ovaries, but much research is being done to find more effective detection methods. Most new research addresses the possibility of using the typical disease indicators in conjunction with certain tumor markers proteomics to increase accurate detection and earlier treatment. Ovarian cancer signs and symptoms can be difficult to detect, but early detection is the key to increased survival of the condition.