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Linda Snyder - Director of Marketing
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Early Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer

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There may be early warning signs that are indicators of ovarian cancer. Although some doctors describe the symptons as vague, any symptoms, no matter how “vague”, are better than none.

Because there are no obvious symptoms and there is no standard screening test, ovarian cancer is usually diagnosed in the late stages after it has spread to other parts of the body. Even a few months’ delay in making the diagnosis may be the between life and death since the tumors can grow and spread quickly through the abdomen to the intestines, liver, diaphragm and other organs.

If you notice any of these symptoms that persist for 2 weeks or more, you should contact your doctor immediately.

-Bloating
-Pelvic or abdominal pain
-Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
-Urinary urgency or frequency.

And be persistant. Some doctors have dismissed these symptoms as signs of getting older or going through menopause.

These indicators are now supported by several medical and advocacy organizations including the American Cancer Society, the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, and the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists. Some doctors feel uncomfortable using these new symptoms because they are vague and by the time you notice the symptoms, your cancer is already at an advanced stage. Hmmmm…so the logic of catching the cancer as early as possible doesn’t apply to ovarian cancer? Or, you’re so far gone there’s nothing we can do for you, so it doesn’t matter anyways! Are you kidding me. Let’s ask one of those doctors they’d have them same opinion if we were talking about prostate cancer.

Tate Thigpen, director of medical oncology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center responds to the idea that it can’t hurt if it saves a month or two of cancer growth, “It can hurt, by creating anxiety in patients who develop these symptoms. Odds are they are not going to have ovarian cancer.” Personally, I think I’d rather suffer a little anxiety and not have ovarian cancer, than have absolutely no chance at all because I didn’t know that some of my symptons were indicators of ovarian cancer.

Daniel Donato, a gynecologist at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center in Denver, Colorado supports the new list. “Everyone burshes off these symptoms,” he says. “But ovarian cancer is high on the list of killer cancers because we don’t pick it up fast enough.”

The National Cancer Institue estimates in 2008, there have been 21,650 new cases of ovarian cancer reported in the United States with 15,520 deaths.

According to Donato, “Cure rates for stage three or four cancers are about 35 percent. Cure rates for stage one and two are about 90 percent.”

I’ll take those stage one or two odds anyday. And if some “vague” early detection indicators will help with those odds, then it is a good thing.