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Ovarian cancer: Learn how to spot the early warning signs and when to see a doctor

Rising Incidence of Ovarian Cancer.

Ovarian cancer, a malignancy affecting the female reproductive organs (ovaries responsible for egg production), ranks as the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. Detecting ovarian cancer in its early stages presents a significant challenge, primarily due to the absence of noticeable symptoms during the initial phases.


Recognizing Ovarian Cancer Symptoms.

 Dr. Sabhyata Gupta, Chairperson of Gynaecology and Gynae Oncology at Medanta, Gurugram, mentions that patients often encounter abdominal bloating, pelvic or abdominal discomfort, unexplained weight loss, reduced appetite, and frequent urination. Unfortunately, these symptoms are frequently dismissed as common ailments. However, if these symptoms persist for several weeks, seeking medical guidance is imperative. Additional indicators potentially signalling ovarian cancer include fatigue, lower back pain, irregular bowel movements, and menstrual irregularities.


Expert Insights.

 Dr. Gupta emphasizes the critical fact that many ovarian cancer cases manifest without any discernible symptoms, earning it the ominous moniker of the "silent killer." Consequently, regular gynaecological examinations and pelvic screenings, particularly for women at elevated risk of ovarian cancer, become paramount.


Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors.

 Women harbouring a family history of ovarian, breast, or colorectal cancer, those possessing genetic mutations like BRCA1 or BRCA2, individuals with prior cancer diagnoses or endometriosis, those grappling with obesity, postmenopausal hormone therapy users, or women who have never experienced pregnancy face an elevated risk of ovarian cancer. It is essential that women fitting any of these categories have discussions with healthcare professionals and consider routine consultations.


The Diagnosis.

Fortunately, early detection enhances the treatability of ovarian cancer. Treatment modalities for ovarian cancer may encompass surgical procedures, chemotherapy, or a combination of both. Should an individual exhibit any of the early warning signals of ovarian cancer, prompt consultation with a medical specialist is crucial. Even if ovarian cancer is not the cause, obtaining an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment is of utmost importance.


Final take:

 In summary, the early diagnosis of ovarian cancer is often a challenging endeavour, but there exist crucial early warning signs that women must remain vigilant about. Regular gynaecological check-ups and pelvic examinations play a pivotal role in the timely identification of ovarian cancer, particularly for those at elevated risk."


This blog is based on insights provided by Dr. Sabhyata Gupta in the following article: 


Dr. Sabhyata Gupta
Gynaecology and GynaeOncology
Meet The Doctor
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