Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating and the frequent or urgent need to urinate are some of the more common symptoms of ovarian cancer. Less common ovarian cancer symptoms include back pain, extreme fatigue and changes in menstrual cycles. Just as with other cancers, detecting ovarian cancer early is key to a favorable outcome.

Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer Risk

Talcum powder is comprised of talc, a naturally occurring mineral that is mined for the use in many consumer products. Talcum powder has a long history of use, dating back to the end of the 19th century.

In spite of how common talc is and how long it has been used in consumer products, research dating back 50 years has linked talc to an elevated risk of ovarian cancer. Several pharmaceutical companies have been accused of knowing about this dangerous link for years and hiding the information from the public.

As a result, many women who use or have used talc-based products are at higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. About 1 in 78 women will develop ovarian cancer in her lifetime. Some cases are caused by prolonged use of talcum powder in the genital area, as talcum powder sometimes contains cancerous materials.

Common Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

Given all of the factors that go into an ovarian cancer diagnosis, it is important to watch out for any symptoms so that the disease can be caught as early as possible. If you have any of these symptoms for an extended period of time, such as weeks or months, then you should see a physician.

The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Bloating
  • Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly

Other Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

These ovarian cancer symptoms are less common than the ones above. However, if you are experiencing several of these symptoms, you should still see a doctor and consider getting tested for ovarian cancer.

Other symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Back pain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Menstrual changes
  • Pain during sex
  • Upset stomach or heartburn

How Long Does It Take Ovarian Cancer Symptoms to Develop?

The development of ovarian cancer can be slow, and the length of time it takes for symptoms to appear can be quite long. It sometimes takes years for them to become noticeable. These 2 factors contribute greatly to ovarian cancer’s high mortality rate. The sad truth is that 4 out of 5 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer do not survive, which is due largely to the fact that it is often not discovered until it is in its advanced stages.

According to a study by researchers at Stanford University, ovarian cancer tumors can grow for 10 years or more before they are detectable by blood tests. This makes ovarian cancer especially deadly. In many cases, symptoms do not become noticeable until the cancer has metastasized and spread to nearby organs such as the bladder or lymph nodes.

Among all cancers, ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of death among women. Each year, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates around 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed.

Differentiating Symptoms of Cancer from Other Causes

Several medical conditions share similar symptoms to ovarian cancer. One of these conditions is irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. IBS symptoms include abdominal cramping, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and loss of appetite.

If you have been diagnosed with IBS, it is especially important to be on the lookout for other symptoms, such as pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, irregular vaginal bleeding and fluid in the abdomen, which can help differentiate ovarian cancer from IBS.

Similar to IBS, other conditions that can cause abdominal discomfort include gallbladder issues, hernias and urinary tract infections. If you are ever confused about the symptoms you are displaying, see a doctor and ask them to conduct a screening to assess your risk levels for ovarian cancer.

Persistence of Symptoms

Many symptoms of ovarian cancer may seem benign. Women may assume stomach discomfort or feelings of fatigue are due to poor diet or lack of exercise. It is for reasons like these, however, that only 19% of all ovarian cancer cases are detected in the early stages.

Due to the dismissal and/or confusion of early symptoms, doctors have taken to calling ovarian cancer a “silent killer” because it is often too late by the time it is detected.

One of the best ways to detect ovarian cancer is to stay aware of when symptoms persist. For example, if an upset stomach, bloating or feelings of fatigue do not go away with dietary changes, exercise, rest or diet-related medications, then you should see a doctor immediately.

A doctor will evaluate your symptoms and run the proper tests and screenings. Ignoring the persistence of symptoms can have adverse health consequences, as it could allow early-stage cancer to spread from the ovaries to other regions in the body.

When Should You See a Doctor?

Regardless of doubt, in most cases it is better safe than sorry to see a medical professional about any unusual or persistent symptoms you are experiencing. Seeing your physician may just provide the clarity or peace of mind you need.

When looking through a list of symptoms for ovarian cancer, you should take note of how many symptoms you are experiencing. Because diseases present themselves differently in each person, not everyone will share the exact same symptoms. If you are experiencing more than one symptom, it is wise to see a medical professional.

A doctor can perform a medical evaluation and conduct screening tests to confirm whether or not you have ovarian cancer. A doctor’s early diagnosis is the best possible defense one can have when going up against cancer.

Get a Free Legal Consultation

If you believe that you have ovarian cancer, do not wait. Make sure that you get a proper medical evaluation from a licensed physician. If you are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and have used talc-based products regularly in the past, your cancer may have been caused by those products.

If your cancer is a result of using talc-based products, you may be eligible for financial compensation. This can help cover your costs for medical care and living expenses. Contact a nurse case manager at Talcum Powder Cancer Guide now and get your free legal consultation.

Author:Talcum Powder Cancer Guide Editorial Team
Talcum Powder Cancer Guide Editorial Team

Talcum Powder Cancer Guide helps people understand the risks of talcum powder, what was thought to be a harmless product. The site was inspired by a group of medical experts and lawyers who were concerned about the dangers of talcum powder after lawsuits linked it to cancer. Talcum Powder Cancer Guide’s editorial team uses up-to-date studies and reports to help readers make informed health and legal choices.

Last modified: February 4, 2019

View 7 References
  1. American Cancer Society. (2018, December 4). Talcum Powder and Cancer. Retrieved January 9, 2019, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/talcum-powder-and-cancer.html

  2. Gal, K. (n.d.). Does baby powder cause cancer? Facts and research. Retrieved January 9, 2019, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323525.php

  3. Girion, L. (2018, December 14). J&J knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder. Retrieved January 9, 2019, from https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/johnsonandjohnson-cancer/

  4. McGinley, L. (2017, August 25). Does talcum powder cause ovarian cancer? Retrieved January 9, 2019, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/08/23/does-talcum-powder-cause-ovarian-cancer-experts-are-divided/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.cbe99c3e0984

  5. Muscat, J., & Huncharek, M. (2008, April 1). Perineal Talc Use and Ovarian Cancer: A Critical Review. Retrieved January 9, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3621109/

  6. Watterson, A. (2016, March 4). Can talcum powder really cause ovarian cancer? Retrieved January 9, 2019, from https://theconversation.com/can-talcum-powder-really-cause-ovarian-cancer-55469

  7. Zuckerman, D., & Shapiro, D. (2018, December 21). Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer. Retrieved January 9, 2019, from https://www.center4research.org/talcum-powder-ovarian-cancer/