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  • Dr Peter Chew

Ovarian cancer

I am 52 years old and have been menopausal for 2 years. Recently, I had indigestion and experienced a bloated feeling in my tummy. I had little appetite and lost some weight. In addition, I also had a little vaginal bleeding. I have not had any history of gastric discomfort in the past. My friend suggested that these symptoms could be attributed to those of ovarian cancer. Could you tell me what are the symptoms of ovarian cancer? What should I do?


Ovarian cancer is a silent killer. In its early stage it rarely has any symptoms while at the advanced stage it may cause a number of nonspecific symptoms that are often mistaken for more common benign conditions, such as gastric discomfort, constipation or “sensitive” irritable bowel.



Symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

· Fullness or swelling of the tummy

· Stomach upset or indigestion

· Weight loss · Discomfort or pain in the lower tummy

· Changes in bowel habits, e.g. constipation

· Frequency and urgency in urination

· Menstrual irregularity or abnormal vaginal bleeding


These symptoms are also commonly caused by non-cancerous conditions as well as by cancers of other abdominal organs. When they are caused by ovarian cancer, they tend to be persistent and represent a change from the norm. The symptoms usually become more severe as the tumour grows. By then, the cancer is usually spread outside the ovaries and make it much harder to treat. It is easy to overlook the symptoms of ovarian cancer. If your symptoms persist for a while, you should consult your gynaecologist early.