Early Detection is Important

The signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer can be easy to miss. They may also be difficult to notice or detect because the ovaries are located deep within the abdominal cavity. Often, the signs and symptoms are “silent,” making ovarian cancer difficult to detect in its early stages.

If symptoms don’t go away within two weeks, contact a physician immediately. If cancer is suspected, a gynecologic oncologist should also be consulted before surgery.

When Symptoms Persist

The signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer are often easy to miss. This is why only about 15% to 20% of cases are diagnosed in the early stages (stages I-II). Often, symptoms don’t appear until the disease is in its advanced stages (stages III-IV). 

If symptoms don’t go away within two weeks following normal interventions such as laxatives, rest, or changing diet and exercise, contact a physician immediately. If cancer is suspected, a gynecologic oncologist should also be consulted before surgery.

Related Topics

Diagnosis

Get information about the tests that are available for making a diagnosis when ovarian cancer is suspected. 

Types and stages

Learn about the different types of ovarian cancer, and how the stage, or the degree that the disease has spread, is determined.

A middle-aged Black female talks to her female physician

Treatment options

Learn about your treatment options and how to manage possible side effects.

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