Patient Comments: Ovarian Cancer - Symptoms

For ovarian cancer, what were the symptoms and signs you experienced?

Comment from: English Rose, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 05

I had symptoms for at least nine months before being correctly diagnosed with ovarian cancer (OC). The major symptom was bloating, but also weight gain, diarrhea, abdominal tenderness, lower back pain, and hormonal changes (increased hair growth). It took several months before my general physician (GP) referred me to a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist, and my GP, the specialist, and I, too, thought my symptoms were gastric. Of course, a CT scan would have revealed more information. At any rate, I did not improve. One evening, after physical exertion, I had excruciating abdominal pain on my right side and went to the emergency room (ER) 24 hours later. After several tests that revealed a lot of fluid build-up, my husband and I were told that I had ovarian cancer. My CA-125 test was (and has remained) negative. Patients must be assertive in pressing their doctors for more tests if symptoms do not improve. I was very lucky that the extreme pain that sent me to the ER was caused by an ovary bursting. That led to more tests which confirmed OC. I am staged at 1C and the cancer had not spread beyond the one burst ovary. But if my ovary had not burst, I don't know how much longer it would have taken before diagnosis. I had some but not many risk factors. I was not overweight, did not have a family history of OC, and took the pill for many years, so these would suggest a lower than average risk for OC. But age was against me (65) and I never had any children. I was referred to a wonderful gynecological oncologist and underwent extensive surgery followed by six rounds of paclitaxel and carboplatin. I'm now four months on from the last chemotherapy treatment and initial follow-up tests look good. Fingers crossed.

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Comment from: Rwwoc, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 13

I was feeling bloated and gassy, and had lower back pain and distended abdomen. The symptoms came on suddenly and I had a diagnosis of ovarian cancer 2 weeks after seeing my primary care doctor and a month after noticing symptoms. I am never sick and I told my doctor I knew there was something wrong so she quickly ordered the ultrasound which led to a CT scan, MRI and then surgery.

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Comment from: susan, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 13

I am a registered theatre nurse and so was angry with myself for not thinking there was something really wrong. I had increasing constipation but because I had Hashimoto's disease (low thyroid) at the time my doctor and I put it down to that. The lower back pain I`d had for years, because of bulging lower discs. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in July 2013. I had had a CA125 level done as my cousin had ovarian cancer which was 35 and exactly a year before had an abdominal ultrasound which was normal. My doctor was on holiday and I had to go three times to a medical center and demand a CT scan. It showed a huge adnexal mass secondaries on omentum so I had total hysterectomy. It was stage III C and greater and lesser omentum were removed. Abdominal port had to be removed so I only had one dose of IP (intraperitoneal) therapy but 6 cycles of IV chemotherapy. Then CA125 went up from 19 to 42 and I was worried but doctors were not. Then PET scan showed secondaries everywhere. More chemotherapy but I had an allergic reaction so not sure what can be done now. Always listen to your body and push for scans.

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Comment from: Seeram, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 10

I had absolutely no symptoms except bloating. I was fully energetic. I just did not get my period for one month and on doing sonography, mass was detected and subsequent tests revealed malignancy.

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Published: May 28

I had ovarian cancer eight years ago and had a hysterectomy, appendectomy, and omentumectomy, followed by chemotherapy. My initial symptoms were very strange, firstly with altered taste and smell. I was uanable to eat because everything tasted so vile and altered. I lost 8 stone and slowly deteriorated over several weeks. I ended up practically bedridden by weakness. Many tests for stomach bugs were all futile. I eventually got so weak I told my GP I thought I was dying. He palpated my abdomen and found a large mass. Within two weeks, I was in the hospital and feeling much better. The cancer was encapsulated in a very large football-size cyst, which was removed successfully. Six months of chemo followed, with regular nonevasive check-ups. It is all just a memory now.

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Ovarian Cancer - Treatments Question: What was the treatment for your ovarian cancer?
Ovarian Cancer - Diagnosis Question: How did your ovarian cancer diagnosis come about?
Ovarian Cancer - Stages Question: What stage was your ovarian cancer when you were diagnosed?
Ovarian Cancer - Prognosis Question: What's the prognosis of your ovarian cancer?

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