Ovarian Cancer

Question:

For ovarian cancer, what were the symptoms and signs you experienced? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Joybelle, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 14

I am 49. I have just been diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. In the past month I changed my diet and bought a TreadClimber. I had pain in my abdomen, but attributed it to the exercise. I lost 15 pounds but again attributed it to my life changes. However, my belly started to swell and I felt like I was pregnant. Then intercourse became painful and in the same week, I felt like something was falling out of my vagina. That is what took me to hospital. I am awaiting news from my team whether I will have chemotherapy first, or surgery.

Comment from: OvariCan Survivor, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 05

Stage 3b survivor here after almost six years. Classic case of delayed diagnosis, as I was having irregular period problems and saw my gynecologist several times during the 8 months before diagnosis! By that time, I had a huge malignant tumor mass. My amazing surgeon had to remove my ovaries, uterus and cervix along with a lot of surrounding tissue. However, I remained "studded" with tumors on my bladder, colon and other areas, but thankfully they found nothing in my lower body lymph nodes (those that were sampled). Chemotheraphy sucks but it was worth it, because here I am after 6 years, alive and apparently healthy, and my advice is ... if you're reading this, you suspect or know you have cancer, or somehow related to someone who does. Go to your doctor! Get a complete physical and if you're in the prolonged "problems with period" stage, demand the CA 123 tumor marker test and an ultrasound! It might save your life. FYI, I am extremely grateful for the wonderful doctors I have, they saved me from certain death. I have no idea how many more years I have, the odds aren't good for long term, but I've beat them so far and I'm going to keep kicking it! Hope this helps someone.

Published: September 10

I had ovarian cancer eight years ago and had a hysterectomy, appendectomy, and omentumectomy, followed by chemotherapy. My initial symptoms were very strange, firstly with altered taste and smell. I was uanable to eat because everything tasted so vile and altered. I lost 8 stone and slowly deteriorated over several weeks. I ended up practically bedridden by weakness. Many tests for stomach bugs were all futile. I eventually got so weak I told my GP I thought I was dying. He palpated my abdomen and found a large mass. Within two weeks, I was in the hospital and feeling much better. The cancer was encapsulated in a very large football-size cyst, which was removed successfully. Six months of chemo followed, with regular nonevasive check-ups. It is all just a memory now.

Comment from: Renee', 45-54 (Patient) Published: September 01

I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 3-3-08. Two very large tumors removed (malignant). 6 months of chemo followed. Carbolatin and Taxol. I was not able to do more than one treatment of Cisplatin intraperitineal due to pain. Looking back I had one to two years of OC symptoms. Irregular and heavy periods with clotting. I was in nursing at the time. Other nurses at work said it was menopause. I was 47 years old. They said I was "shedding the lining of my uterus." Chronic back pain. Everyone in nursing had back pain. Changes in bowel habits came. My doctor said I was just constipated. At the very end I had horrible heartburn which never happened unless I was pregnant which I was not. I started buying Tums. I missed 14 days of work due to stomach pain and got fed up and went to a doc in the box (not my primary care doctor who I had been seeing). He felt the football size lump in my belly I had been letting others feel for quite some time, including my primary care doctor. He sent me for an ultra sound which led to surgery. My oncologist surgeon said I would wake up most likely with stitches from pelvis to sternum. I did not. I woke up with cesarean type scar low on pelvis. He said the tumors were not cancer. Relatives in town for my surgery went back home relieved. About 3 days later I got a call that pathology came back and I did have cancer. My surgeon apologized. Said I was grade 3 very aggressive but unstaged. I began chemo. I know a lot more now than I did then and I am carefully, cautiously yet very optimistically watching my health. My tumor marker numbers hover at 7. I have had a few cat scans that have been good. I have learned to live in the moment and love life! Keep hope alive sisters!

Comment from: LuckyDuck, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 10

I am 33 and was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. My symptoms were: sharp painful sides, weight gain, and what I thought was a urine infection. I felt as if I needed to pee a lot but then always felt as if I hadn't gone. In my later stages, my symptoms were: kidney infections, back aches, and 4.5 pounds of weight gain by the time my operation had taken place. Inside my left ovary was a small, grade 1 tumor. After they removed it, I had six months of chemo and a 90% chance of survival. The odds are good that this will not come back. I can still go on to have children.

Comment from: NewCAOvary, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 26

I was normal for about a month before my surgery for ovarian cancer. I suddenly felt bloating in my abdomen and felt like something moving around. My GP mistook it for gas and treated me for Gastritis. I developed a sharp pain near my diaphragm. I went to a gynecologist who immediately advised an ultrasound. I surgery to remove my ovaries, omentum and uterus. Will soon be starting chemo.

Comment from: tecraamf, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 20

I was diagnosed with stage 1 B, grade 3 (aggressive) epithelial ovarian cancer. The GYN felt a cyst on my ovary during routine annual exam last December. I was asymptomatic. He sent me for a vaginal ultrasound, which found three cysts on my ovaries but opined that they were most likely benign. My GYN recommended a hysterectomy and small cancers were found on each ovary, a surprise finding during the surgery. My uterus, both ovaries, both fallopian tubes and cervix were removed. They saw nothing else. I then had a CT scan after surgery which showed no residual malignancy. Two weeks later I had a cancer staging surgery and the pathologies from that were all negative. Now, they think I am cured. That routine exam saved my life.

Comment from: from Michigan, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 13

My abdomen was tight. Since I had been working with a personal trainer, I thought it was finally paying off. But when I began to slosh a bit as I tossed and turned at night, I turned to my sister, an RN. She knew something wasn't right and insisted I go to the doctor. An ultrasound showed I had a problem. Ten days later, 10 litres of ascites was removed as they did a complete hysterectomy. I was diagnosed with Stage IIIc epithelial ovarian cancer.

Comment from: LadyPegasus, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 11

I am a 47 year-old woman with history of several pregnancies, four of them full term. I entered the ER after severe abdominal pains and vomiting with a gush of blood from the vaginal area. The blood gush slowed to almost nil while I was in the ER and the doc originally thought it was just a hormonal imbalance but wanted to run more tests to make sure. Good doctor! Turns out there was a giant mass, suspected to be fibroid in nature, along with a beautiful 11 mm kidney stone complicating the whole mess! The ob/gyn who was going to do the surgery did further testing and examinations of the tests already done and determined that it was more likely that it was ovarian cancer and looks like it might have spread. I see the GYN next week to schedule the surgery, which they say to expect to happen ASAP.

Comment from: fleas, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 27

Prior to being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, I noticed a hard mass in my lower abdomen. It felt like an egg.

Comment from: Cat, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 04

I was diagnosed just after having my baby (age 32). The GYN thought I had cysts on my ovaries while pregnant, meanwhile I think it was a tumor, I was huge when pregnant. At my 6 week check-up after having my baby, the GYN missed a mass in my abdomen, which I could feel myself a few weeks later, by pressing my abdomen. I didn't have any other pain or symptoms, but the tumor was very big. I also had night- sweats where I would wake up and have to change my clothes as they were so wet. I thought it was something to do with having been pregnant. I went to my GP who sent me for a CT scan and blood tests - which showed that I may have cancer, and then I had surgery to remove the tumor and one ovary. They thought it was benign, but found cancer after testing the tumor. It was Stage 1a Cancer and I chose not to have chemo as it had not spread. One year later I am fine but go for regular check-ups. I hope to have more children.

Published: December 13

My wife started getting her periods closer together about a year ago, maybe about a week early. We thought it was pre menopause and dismissed it. She also had bouts of depression and slept much of the day. Suddenly, her abdomen began to swell to the point where she looked like a late stage pregnancy. This happened very quickly, over the course of a week. Went into Dr. and did CT scan which showed a large, grapefruit sized tumor on her ovary. Two weeks later, she had surgery, but the cancer had spread so much into the bowel, intestines, colon and lymph nodes, the surgeon could not complete the operation. After the operation, she continued to fill with fluid and every three days she would have the fluid drained because she could not breathe or eat. She was constantly in horrible pain and could not sleep. For three weeks after surgery, she could not hold down solid food or even liquids. My wife literally starved to death because the cancer would not allow her any nutrition. We tried tpn, as well and that didn't work. She eventually passed away three weeks after her surgery due to respiratory failure. This disease is horrible. One day, you appear to be perfectly healthy and a month later, you are no longer here. It's unfair. We need to find a screening method for ovarian cancer. Ladies in your 40's, if you feel tired, and your periods are getting closer together. If you have any changes in your lower abdomen or reproductive parts, don't put off going to the doctor because you assume it is just pre menopause. Get a full pelvic exam. Get an abdominal CT scan if you can. It may save your life. When you have overt signs such as heavy bloating and distension of the abdomen, it is already too late. Ovarian Cancer will take your life.

Comment from: pitbull lover, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 04

I am a 6 year survivor. My symptoms were: extreme fatigue (sleeping 12 to 14 hours a day), lower backache, and feeling full after eating very little. I had cystic granulosa cell tumor ovarian cancer at the age of 41.

Comment from: MINTY, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 11

I am currently recovering from surgery and have had my first cycle of chemo. I put off taking my symptoms to the GP for some time. The first was bladder weakness, and having seen all the TV ads and assumed in a woman of my age 52 that incontinence was natural. I bought the pads. The next symptom was a bloated feeling in my lower abdomen. Again I believed the ads and bought the yogurt. A very sore hip finally took me to the GP who sent me to hospital where a 16cm mass was found. Please if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, they are not "just our age". Get them checked out.

Comment from: 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 02

As for ovarian cancer, I was diagnosed with a stromal cell tumor when I was 29, so my situation was a bit different. I had no real symptoms at all related to my abdomen, other than the usual stomach issues I've had my entire life. I did develop terrible acne all over my back and chest, which I guess was due to the extra estrogen production. I went in for my yearly exam and my GYN found the mass, which hurt when he pressed on it. Then I had an ultrasound at his office. They thought it was a cyst until it ruptured and was sent in for lab work after my emergency surgery. I actually didn't know it was cancer until a week after my surgery. The cancer had metastasized by that point, so I did undergo chemotherapy. I do have to say that having your yearly exam is essential or I may never have known about my cancer. Five years later, I have had no recurrence and I now have a 3 year old son.

Comment from: tennisgirl62, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 16

I was warming up for a work-out at the gym. Prior to doing sit-ups I do a move called "organs in place" which keeps women from developing a "muscle bulge" low in abdominal area and helps develop a flatter stomach. When I pressed on the inside of my hip bone and pushed down and toward belly button I felt a weird sharp pain. This was February 2007. Had an pelvic ultrasound two days later and surgery to remove ovary 10 days later, full hysterectomy and "cancer surgery".

Comment from: Sassy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 28

I felt stomach pain and lower back pain. I would take Peptol Bismol and it would alleviate the stomach pain but the pain would always seem to resurface again. At the time I was so busy I couldn't have time to run to the doctor so I kept on taking the Peptol bismol. Usually the Peptol bismol would always help me out. Not this time. I went to my doctor and told him what I was feeling. He sent me for a battery of tests. The doctor told me I had a mass on the right side of my ovary. I had already gone through menopause and was 52 years old. I went to the gynecologist. He sent me to a cancer specialist where who gave me a hysterectomy, they took out my appendex and I had an oopherectomy. After, the doctor told me I had stage 2 ovarian cancer. I went through chemotherapy. I lost my hair and everything and I'm lucky to be alive today. I'm a cancer survivor. It's been 3 years for me.

Comment from: 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 06

I recently went to the hospital bleeding badly from the rectum and was told I had "Ischemic Colonitis". However, I continued to have diarrhea, no appetite and a lot of pain in the left side, lower and some upper region. After a CT scan I was told Saturday that I have a growth, about 1-1/2 inches on my left ovary. I had a hysterectomy back in the 70's but only the Uterus. I am very afraid it is cancer and am now waiting for a pelvic ultrasound to get more info. I am having trouble thinking positively for which I am ashamed of myself! The waiting is making me crazy! God bless all of you and please pray for me as well.

Comment from: karen, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: May 14

I have just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, luckily it has been caught very early but this was only due to the fact that my periods became very irregular. I didn't have a period for 5 months then for the last 6 have had one constantly. If I hadn't persisted going to the doctors it could have been very serious. I was just told that it was the menopause as I am now 50. Don't give up if you know something is not right we know our bodies better than anyone.

Patient Comments & Reviews

  • Ovarian Cancer - Diagnosis

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  • Ovarian Cancer - Experience

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  • Ovarian Cancer - Stages

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  • Ovarian Cancer - Prognosis

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Medically reviewed by Jay B. Zatzkin, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Medical Oncology

REFERENCE:

"Epithelial carcinoma of the ovary, fallopian tube, and peritoneum: Clinical features and diagnosis"
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