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Ovarian Cancer Signs, Symptoms and Types

If you have symptoms of ovarian cancer, the team at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center can help. Our patient-focused approach promises we’ll be here for you throughout your cancer journey. We’re dedicated to using the latest research and most advanced therapies to ensure you have access to the best care possible.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?

Symptoms of ovarian cancer are often missed. Signs like bloating are overlooked as normal. You shouldn’t ignore symptoms that are frequent (happen often), persistent (don’t go away) or are new (not normal for you).

The four main symptoms women with ovarian cancer experience are:

  • Ongoing bloating (a week or longer)
  • Pain in the pelvic or abdominal area 
  • Loss of appetite or feeling full too quickly
  • Needing to urinate more frequently or urgently

Occasionally, you may experience other symptoms, including

  • Changes in bowel habits like diarrhea or constipation
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding

If you experience any of these symptoms or are concerned about changes in your health, talk to your doctor immediately.

Types of Ovarian Cancer

The different types of cells in the ovaries can develop into a different type of tumor:

  • Epithelial tumors: Cancer starts in epithelial cells, which covers the outside of the ovaries. Most ovarian tumors, approximately 90%, are epithelial cell tumors
  • Stromal tumors: Only about 7% of ovarian cancer starts from stromal cells, which produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone
  • Germ cell tumors: Only about 2% of ovarian cancer starts from germ cells, which produce the eggs (ova)

Some ovarian cancer is now being categorized as fallopian tube cancer as recent research has shown the cancer starting in the fallopian tubes.

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