Risk Factors/Signs and Symptoms

Research is increasing regarding what we know about Ovarian Cancer. Scientists are learning more about its causes. Following are common risk factors for the disease:

Age - Most women are over age 55 when diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Family History - Women who have a mother, daughter, or sister with ovarian cancer have an increased risk of the disease. Also, patients with a family history of cancer of the breast, uterus, colon, or rectum may also have an increased risk of ovarian cancer. In addition, women who have had cancer of the breast, uterus, colon, or rectum have a higher risk of ovarian cancer.

Menopausal Hormone Therapy - Some studies have suggested that women who take estrogen by itself (estrogen without progesterone) for 10 or more years may have an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Pregnancies - Women who have never been pregnant have an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

Early ovarian cancer may not cause obvious symptoms. But, as the cancer grows, symptoms may include:

- Feeling the need to urinate often

- Nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation, or diarrhea

- Pain during sex

- Pressure or pain in the abdomen, pelvis, back, or legs

- Shortness of breath

- Stomach pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly

- Swelling of the abdomen caused by a build-up of fluid

- Tiredness

- Unusual vaginal bleeding (heavy periods, or bleeding after menopause)

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