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Ovarian Cancer Symptoms vs. Pregnancy

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms vs Pregnancy Related Articles

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms vs. Pregnancy Symptoms Quick Comparison

The symptoms that can be common to both ovarian cancer and pregnancy are as follows: pelvic discomfort, abdominal swelling and/or bloating, urinary frequency, constipation, abnormalities in menstruation, nausea and vomiting and fatigue. Symptoms of pregnancy that are not usually seen in ovarian cancer are premenstrual syndrome (PMS), missed menstrual period, breast swelling and/or tenderness, weight gain and fetal development in the uterus.

Pregnancy is easy to diagnose with a pregnancy test; ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose because symptoms don’t appear until late in the disease process. Ovarian cancer is usually diagnosed from a biopsy sample.

Pregnancy is the time when a fetus develops in a female’s body (about 9 months) to produce an offspring; ovarian cancer is abnormal development of cells that may form tumors in a female’s abdomen.

Pregnancy is a normal developmental condition while ovarian cancer is abnormal development and proliferation of certain cells related to or from the ovaries.

Ovarian cancer has four stages that describe increasingly severe disease that often results in death, while pregnancy is usually divided into three trimesters with the end of pregnancy resulting in a new life.

What Are the Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose because symptoms often do not occur until late in the disease. Symptoms do not occur until the tumor has grown large enough to apply pressure to other organs in the abdomen, or until the cancer has spread to remote organs. The symptoms are nonspecific, meaning they could be due to many different conditions. Cancer is not usually the first thing considered in a woman having symptoms.

The only early symptom of the disease can be menstrual irregularity. Symptoms that come later include the following:

  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Abdominal swelling and bloating
  • Urinary frequency
  • Constipation
  • Ascites: Collection of fluid in the abdomen, contributing to abdominal distension and shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling full after eating little
  • Gas and/or diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abnormalities in menstruation, pubertal development, and abnormal hair growth (with tumors that secrete hormones)

What Are the Symptoms of Pregnancy?

  • A missed menstrual period is most often the first sign of pregnancy and is a common first trimester symptom.
  • Not all women will experience the same symptoms in early pregnancy or experience these symptoms to the same degree. The time when very early pregnancy symptoms and signs start is also different for every woman.
  • Feelings of breast swelling, tenderness, or pain are also commonly associated with early pregnancy.
  • There is usually only a small amount of weight gain in the first trimester of pregnancy. In this early stage of pregnancy a weight gain of about one pound per month is typical.
  • Many women report cravings for certain foods during the early stages of pregnancy.
  • A persistently elevated basal body temperature (the oral temperature measured first thing in the morning, upon arising from sleep) is another characteristic sign of early pregnancy.
  • Nausea and vomiting, sometimes known as "morning sickness" typically begins in the 2nd to 8th week of pregnancy.
  • Other possible early pregnancy symptoms are mood swings, fatigue, changes in skin pigmentation, frequent urination, and headache.
  • Signs and symptoms of early pregnancy can occur before the missed period and be confused with those of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or the approaching menstrual period. It is not possible to determine if you are pregnant (in the absence of having a menstrual period) until a pregnancy test is positive.
  • Signs and symptoms of early pregnancy can occur before the missed period and be confused with those of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or the approaching menstrual period. It is not possible to determine if you are pregnant (in the absence of having a menstrual period) until a pregnancy test is positive.

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References
"Epithelial carcinoma of the ovary, fallopian tube, and peritoneum: Clinical features and diagnosis"
UpToDate.com

"Patient information: Morning sickness (The Basics)"
UpToDate.com

"Initial prenatal assessment and first-trimester prenatal care"
UpToDate.com
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