Generally, when you’re sick, you can plan on dealing with some annoying symptoms that indicate that something’s wrong. Unfortunately, early ovarian cancer symptoms aren’t usually so obvious.
“Ovarian cancer has been known as the ‘silent killer’ because many women do not experience symptoms until after it is already widespread and considered advanced,” Eloise Chapman-Davis, M.D., gynecologic oncologist at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, tells SELF. “The pelvic cavity is large, and it can take time before a mass … becomes large enough to cause symptoms.”
This is part of why only around 20 percent of ovarian cancers are diagnosed in early stages, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). “Early-stage” ovarian cancer generally means that the cancer is confined to the ovaries and/or fallopian tubes (which is where many ovarian cancers actually start). Sadly, difficulty detecting this disease early enough is inextricably tied with cancer of the ovaries being the deadliest reproductive health cancer out there.
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