Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
Most women with ovarian cancer have vague symptoms. These signs often are like less serious conditions including indigestion, weight gain or aging. Symptoms of ovarian cancer vary from woman to woman, but they may include:
- General abdominal discomfort or pain (gas, indigestion, pressure, swelling, bloating, cramps)
- Bloating and/or a feeling of fullness, even after a light meal
- Nausea, diarrhea, constipation or frequent urination
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Loss of appetite
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Unusual fatigue
- Back pain
- Pain during sex
- Menstrual changes
These symptoms do not always mean you have ovarian cancer. But it’s a good idea to discuss them with your health care provider if they:
- Are new symptoms
- Last more than a few weeks
- Occur more than 12 times a month
Endometrial Cancer Signs and Risk Factors (risk increase)
Endometrial cancer can affect women of all ages, though peri menopausal and post menopausal women are most commonly diagnosed. The most important sign that alerts women and doctors to check for endometrial cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting. For women of any age any and all bleeding between menstrual periods or after menopause, should be discussed with your doctor. While periods may become irregular as women apporach menopause, bleeding between periods is not normal.
- Obesity greater than 50 lbs over ideal body weight (10x)
- Menopause after age 52 (2.4x)
- Lack of children (2x)
- Hypertension (2x)
- Diabetes (2.8x)
- Estrogen replacement without progesterone (7x)
- History of pelvic radiation therapy (8x)
- Women who do not ovulate
The best thing you can do to prevent endometrial cancer is to exercise, eat well, and maintain a healthy body weight. Current research is showing that obesity is a prime reason that the rates of endometrial cancer are on the rise.
Cervical Cancer Risk Factors
Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer
- Early age of first sexual intercourse
- Multiple sexual partners
- Cigarette smoking
- Immunosupression--this includes HIV patients, organ transplant patients, and people taking prolonged steroids, such as prednisone, for prolonged periods.
- DES exposure
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends annual pap smears starting at age 21 for all women. Diagnosis and treatment of pre-cancerous conditions is very good, but only if you get regular pap smears and gynecologic exams.
Cervical cancer is preventable in men and women who have not been exposed to a virus called HPV You need a vaccination for the Human Pampilloma Virus, a highly contagious sexually transmitted infection (that is not completely prevented by condom use as it is a very small pathogen) that studies estimate 75-80% of Americans, both male and female, have been exposed to, mostly through sexual contact. The vaccine is FDA approved for men and women, including children nearing reproductive age, and the only way to erradicate the disease is through widespread vaccination. Contact your physician to schedule the vaccine.