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What Are the Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian cancer usually does not cause any symptoms until after it has spread outside the ovary. Even advanced stage ovarian cancer often causes vague symptoms, which are similar to those of many other common diseases. When a doctor diagnoses ovarian cancer, the cancer usually has already spread outside the ovaries, at which point it is more difficult to cure. These are the symptoms that are often associated with ovarian cancer:

  • Indigestion, heartburn, nausea, or gas

  • Abdominal (belly) swelling or discomfort

  • Pelvic pain or cramping

  • Bloating or a sense of fullness, even after eating small meals

  • Backache

  • Painful, frequent, or burning urination with no infection

  • Diarrhea or constipation

  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness)

  • Loss of appetite or unintentional weight loss or gain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Vaginal bleeding (rare) or irregular periods

  • Pain during intercourse

These symptoms may be caused by ovarian cancer or by other less serious conditions. If the symptoms persist, it's important to check with a doctor.

Online Medical Reviewer: Akin, Louise, RN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 6/30/2014
© 2013 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.