Spotting ovarian cancer early: Symptoms women should not ignore | Health - Hindustan Times

Spotting ovarian cancer early: Symptoms women should not ignore

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jun 02, 2024 09:32 PM IST

Women's health alert: How to detect ovarian cancer before it’s too late? Tips on recognising and acting on ovarian cancer symptoms

Ovarian cancer starts in the ovaries, the female reproductive organ that produces eggs and this cancer is challenging to detect during its early stages, as symptoms may not be noticed until the disease has progressed into the advanced stage. Ovarian cancer is a ‘silent killer’ as many cases go unreported due to the lack of awareness hence, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, as early detection can greatly increase the chances of successful treatment.

Spotting ovarian cancer early: Symptoms women should not ignore (Image by Freepik)
Spotting ovarian cancer early: Symptoms women should not ignore (Image by Freepik)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Swati Gaikwad, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospital in Pune, shared, “Some common symptoms include persistent bloating, abdominal or pelvic pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and frequent urination. Other less obvious signs may include fatigue, back pain, changes in bowel habits, and unexplained weight loss.”

Highlighting that one interesting aspect of ovarian cancer symptoms is that they are often subtle and easily dismissed as other less serious conditions, Dr Swati Gaikwad said, “This can lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment, which can impact outcomes. It is essential for women to pay attention to their bodies and seek medical attention if any of these symptoms persist for more than a few weeks. By being proactive about monitoring their health, women can potentially catch ovarian cancer in its early stages when it is most treatable. Hence, timely diagnosis and treatment can be life-saving for women.”

Dr Swati Gaikwad listed a few reasons why annual check-ups are vital for women during every stage of life -

  1. Annual checks like ultrasound, CT scans, biopsies and abdominal scans can help to detect ovarian cancer and are essential for women belonging to all age groups as it is a known fact that timely detection can drastically improve treatment outcomes.
  2. While ovarian cancer is a common occurrence in older women, it is also seen even in the younger population. By incorporating regular screenings annually as recommended by the doctor, women can raise the chances of detecting any abnormalities or signs of cancer in its early stages when it is more treatable and improve their quality of life.
  3. Moreover, annual checks serve as a proactive approach to women's health, empowering individuals to take charge of their well-being and monitor any changes in their bodies. The symptoms of ovarian cancer can often be subtle and easily dismissed, making routine screenings essential for catching any potential issues early on. By prioritizing annual checks, women can ensure they are staying informed about their health status and taking necessary steps towards prevention or early intervention if needed.

Dr Swati Gaikwad concluded, “To lower one’s risk of ovarian cancer, it is imperative to eat a nutritious diet, exercise daily, and quit smoking, alcohol, and illicit drugs. Be proactive when it comes to your health, try to go for screening as recommended by the doctor to identify the risk of this fatal cancer and improve the prognosis of this disease by seeking timely intervention. It is the need of the hour for women to stay vigilant and take necessary steps to improve well-being.”

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