postheadericon Ovarian Cancer

Did you know?

There is NO SCREENING TEST for ovarian cancer. A Pap test does not screen for ovarian cancer. The best tool we have for early diagnosis is awareness of symptoms. Symptoms include bloating, abdominal pain, change in urinary habits, and/or difficulty eating or feeling full after eating only a little. If you have these symptoms and they represent a significant change in your body and are persistent, lasting almost daily for more than a few weeks, see your doctor, preferably a gynecologist.


The Ovarian Cancer Symptom Diary App will help you learn about the risks, signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer.This first-of-its-kind application allows a woman to track symptoms that could indicate ovarian cancer, and alerts her if she should make an appointment with her doctor for further testing.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

 (Gynecologic Cancer Foundation  Consensus Statement)

Historically ovarian cancer was called the "silent killer" because symptoms were not thought to develop until the chance of cure was poor. However, recent studies have shown this term is untrue. We now call it "the disease that whispers" because it does have symptoms and you  need to listen to your body and check out anything unusual. The following symptoms are much more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than women in the general population1,2.


These symptoms include: 

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)


Women with ovarian cancer report that symptoms are persistent and represent a change from normal for their bodies. The frequency and/or number of such symptoms are key factors in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer3. Several studies show that even early stage ovarian cancer can produce these symptoms2-6. Women who have these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks should see their doctor, preferably a gynecologist. Prompt medical evaluation may lead to detection at the earliest possible stage of the disease. Early stage diagnosis is associated with an improved prognosis. Several other symptoms have been commonly reported by women with ovarian cancer2-5. These symptoms include fatigue, indigestion, back pain, pain with intercourse, constipation and menstrual irregularities. However, these other symptoms are not as useful in identifying ovarian cancer because they are also found in equal frequency in women in the general population who do not have ovarian cancer1.


  1. Goff BA, Mandel LS, Melancon CH, Muntz HG. Frequency of symptoms of ovarian cancer in women presenting to primary care. JAMA 2004;291:2705-12. Level II-2
  2. Olson SH, Mignone L, Nakaraseive C,, Caputo TA, Barakat RR, Harlap S. Symptoms of ovarian cancer. Obstet Gynecol 2001;98:212-7. Level II-2
  3. Goff BA, Mandel L, Muntz HG, Melancon CH. Ovarian carcinoma diagnosis: results of a national ovarian cancer survey. Cancer 2000;89:2068-75. Level III
  4. Vine MF, Ness RB, Calingaert B, Schildkraut JM, Berchuck A. Types and duration of symptoms prior to diagnosis of invasive or borderline ovarian tumor. Gynecol Oncol 2001;83:466-71. Level III
  5. Yawn BP, Barrette, BA, Wollan, PC. Ovarian cancer: the neglected diagnosis. Mayo Clin Proc 2004;79:1277-1282. Level III
  6. Goff BA, Mandel L, Drescher CW, Urban N, Gough S, Schurman K, Patras J. Mahony BS, Anderson M. Development of an ovarian cancer symptom index. Cancer 2007;109:221-7. Level II-2

Risk Factors

Having one or more of these risk factors doesn't mean that you're sure to develop ovarian cancer, but your risk may be higher than that of the average woman. Increasing age   (ovarian cancer most often develops after menopause, though it can occur at any age); family history of ovarian, breast, colon, prostate, endometrial or pancreatic cancer (consider genetic counseling);  no or low number of children ; and/or a personal cancer history   

         Risk FactorsRR  Remember:


How You Can Help:

Help us spread awareness across the Tennessee Valley! –Schedule a Teal Talk for your group or organization –Distribute bookmarks with educational information –Volunteer to work at a health fair.

Contact us for more information!!