Why Is Ovarian Cancer Referred to As the Disease That Whispers?

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I'm Barbara Goff, Gynecologic Oncologist, University of Washington Medical Center. Ovarian cancer is considered a disease that whispers because the symptoms associated with ovarian cancer are fairly vague, and they can kind of sneak up on people and so the most common symptoms that we see with ovarian cancer include, bloating and increased abdominal size, filling forth quickly, difficulty eating, pelvic and abdominal pain, and there are several reasons why people have this pain.

One of the symptoms is that, the cancer can release certain chemicals, that can cause bloating or can cause discomfort. Also as the mass of ovarian cancer increases, it can cause pressure on certain organs in the pelvis, and this growth can sometimes be fairly slow and indolent and so people don't always recognize that their symptoms are getting worse.

What's most important about this symptoms of ovarian cancer is that they need to persist for more than a couple of weeks, they need to occur almost daily and then you should start becoming concerned about those symptoms and bring those symptoms to your physician's.