Ovarian cancer symptoms are remarkably absent in the early stages of the disease. This is explained by the fact that the ovaries are so deeply buried that is not surprising that ovarian cancer in stage I and II does not produce any pain symptoms.
Stage III and IV ovarian cancer symptoms
As already pointed out, symptoms occur only in the late stages (stage III or IV). In stage III when there is local invasion, there may be some pelvic discomfort or some bladder irritation with frequent urination. Many women at this stage are still symptom free. For this reason I cannot overemphasize the importance of a preventative yearly bimanual pelvic examination until the age of 70 years, as the incidence of ovarian cancer starts declining only then.
As explained above, when the cancer cysts rupture there is usually lower abdominal pain. In the weeks following this event there is new abdominal discomfort from the multiple new metastases.
Other metastases produce symptoms in the liver (pain in the right upper abdomen), lungs (shortness of breath) and elsewhere in the body. When cells are shed into the abdomen and they multiply, it leads to a cancerous peritonitis with fluid accumulations (ascites), which can lead to bloating and a massive abdominal protrusion. This is a very poor prognostic sign. Also, loss of appetite and weight loss are poor prognostic indicators.
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