ovarian cancer awarenessThis is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month—and even though there’s never a great time to talk about the dreaded “c” word (cancer), it is awareness that helps regular women just like you detect changes within their own bodies.  When you know something just isn’t right and you can’t quite put your finger on it, never hesitate to see your doctor.  That said, the elusive ovarian cancer often doesn’t present with symptoms until most cases are far advanced, which can really drop your chances of being cured.  That’s what makes the face of this female-only cancer so dangerous.  So learn to never take any symptom lightly and press on until you find the answers.

Here are the top five symptoms that can be associated with cancer.  If you have one, don’t panic.  If you have all five, don’t panic.  Most of ovarian cancer’s symptoms could be a whole spectrum of other conditions—but regardless of the outcome they must be investigated by a competent, thoughtful physician.

Weight Loss

Every woman would probably rejoice to see the scale reversing.  But a large drop—about 10 pounds or more in a month’s time without exercise or diet changes could be pointing to a serious problem and should be checked out.

Bloating

If buttoning your pants gets harder right before your period, that’s probably bloating—but that’s not what I am talking about here.  For most of us, a bit of bloating here and there is so common that we learn to ignore it.  However persistent bloating, or swelling in the lower belly that doesn’t go away should be checked. Bloating is a common symptom for ovarian cancer.

Abdominal/Pelvic Pain

Pain of varying amounts may be present with some female cancers.  Discomfort over the lower part of your belly, or when you have sex should be investigated for a cause.  It’s never normal to hurt—and you shouldn’t overlook any signals that might need treatment.

Fatigue

You probably guessed this one would be on the list.  Probably the #1 most commonly listed symptom with everything from PMS to brain tumors is the symptom of extreme tiredness.  Fatigue is more than just missing a good night’s sleep.  It is a persistent, unshakable bone weariness that doesn’t go away with rest, proper diet or stress control.  It’s the kind of exhaustion that robs you of the things you enjoy and keeps you from getting out and about.  Even the smallest tasks feel huge –and it usually lasts several weeks or longer.

Tummy Troubles

Gas, indigestion or constipation that just seems to hang on no matter how many antacid tablets you chew, and how many prunes you eat, shouldn’t be ignored. We will mark our tummy troubles up to everything from too much take-out to stress (and it certainly could be those things) but the key here is persistent, unfailing, and reoccurring digestive issues –these should be assessed for a cause.

It’s easy to overlook subtle symptoms—dismissing them as anything but what they could be.  Now, don’t go running in a panic to the doctor, but just take a good hard look at yourself and how you’ve been feeling.  If there’s anything that might be a bit off, (or even better—it’s time for you annual exam) come in and team up with Dr. Hessel to make sure your body is healthy—she won’t ignore your concerns. Come see us today.

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