Ovarian cancer is known as the “silent killer” due to the difficulty in early detection because most women do not think they have any early symptoms, and many doctors believe that too. However, there are “FIVE EARLY OVARIAN CANCER WARNING SYMPTOMS” women must keep in mind and listen to their bodies. If you suspect you may have a health problem, trust your instincts and get checked.
As with other cancers, the earlier the diagnosis of ovarian cancer is given, the greater the chance can be for a good outcome. However, as one University of Alabama at Birmingham doctor explains, an early diagnosis can be hard to achieve as most women have few if any symptoms.
It is estimated that nearly 20,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2023, so Boitano encourages women to be mindful of these five silent symptoms to increase the chances of early detection.
Bloating can be a common symptom for some women during their monthly cycle, but most do not know that it can be a symptom of ovarian cancer.
“The feeling can occur frequently or can be persistent and can often lead to a woman feeling like she gets full quickly after eating only a small amount,” Boitano said.
If it cannot be associated around the time of a cycle or appears to be getting worse, it might be time to visit your primary care physician or gynecologist to look at potential causes of the bloating.
Abdominal or pelvic pain
A persistent pain, or one that occurs most days, in the stomach or pelvic region is another silent symptom to be aware of. Boitano explains that it is usually a new type of pain that could get progressively worse.
“Women also might notice that they have increased pain with intercourse that is new,” she said.
The third silent symptom is a feeling of tiredness, and one that does not improve with getting more rest.
“If you find yourself feeling fatigued for days to weeks, and that power nap or extra cappuccino doesn’t seem to provide the pick-me-up, talk to your medical provider to be sure that it is not something more serious,” Boitano said.
Changes in bowel habits
If a woman starts having sudden issues with either constipation or diarrhea, it can be a sign of ovarian cancer. Boitano says it usually persists for an extended period and is not a routine issue a woman has been dealing with.
The last silent symptom of ovarian cancer is some women will feel that they have to use the bathroom more often than normal.
Boitano says some patients can experience a burning or pressure sensation during urination.
Boitano urges women to visit a health care provider if they have persistent, severe or worsening issues from any of the five silent symptoms.
“While it hopefully will not be ovarian cancer, it is important for a woman to be evaluated if she is noticing differences in her body,” she said. “Depending on the symptoms and exam, next steps with the health care provider may include laboratory evaluation and imaging.”
Boitano says it is essential to raise awareness about ovarian cancer and its symptoms. If a woman is experiencing abnormal symptoms, or knows of a friend experiencing one of the silent symptoms, it is important to have a conversation, though it may be difficult, and encourage medical evaluation.
“Education and advocacy will empower women to recognize possible symptoms, take control of their health and pursue medical attention swiftly when indicated,” Boitano said.
Written By: Brianna Hoge
Ovarian Cancer Treatment in Miami, Florida
CyberKnife Radiation Therapy for Ovarian Cancer
While CyberKnife treatment is not a cure in these situations, patients very frequently experience improvement in symptoms and can live more comfortable and fully functioning lives. The benefits of SBRT with the CyberKnife far outweigh any potential risks.
Dr. Mark Pomper, CyberKnife Miami’s medical director and board certified radiation oncologist, says often times CyberKnife can extend life for patients, even those are told nothing more can be done for them.
CyberKnife’s sophisticated software uses X-ray images taken during treatment. This allows us to precisely deliver radiation to the tumor while minimizing damage to the surrounding healthy tissue and other critical structures and body organs.
The CyberKnife system can also continuously track and follow a tumor’s exact location as the patient breathes normally while on the treatment table.
This enables the doctor to zero in on the moving tumor and focus hundreds of radiation beams from different angles, all attacking the tumor, delivering the highest dose of radiation possible to destroy tumors.
CyberKnife treatment is completely pain-free. Patients dress comfortably in their own clothes and can bring music to listen to during the treatment.
Nothing is required of the patient during the treatment, except to relax. In fact, patients often sleep through treatment.
There are generally only minimal side effects from CyberKnife therapy, which may include mild nausea and fatigue.
After completing the CyberKnife treatment, patients will schedule follow-up appointments.
Keep in mind that the tumor will not suddenly disappear. In fact, it could take several weeks or longer to determine the effectiveness of the CyberKnife treatment.
Response to treatment varies from patient to patient. Clinical experience has shown that most patients respond very well.
We’ve treated many patients diagnosed with metastatic ovarian cancer, some who were even told that there was nothing more that could be done for them, with gratifying results.
Lenore is among them. She was treated at CyberKnife Miami.
To schedule an appointment with the top cancer experts at CyberKnife Miami call 305-279-2900.