What are the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer?

Updated: Aug 10, 2020
  • Author: Andrew E Green, MD; Chief Editor: Yukio Sonoda, MD  more...
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Early ovarian cancer causes minimal, nonspecific, or no symptoms. The patient may feel an abdominal mass. Most cases are diagnosed in an advanced stage.

Epithelial ovarian cancer presents with a wide variety of vague and nonspecific symptoms, including the following:

  • Bloating; abdominal distention or discomfort
  • Pressure effects on the bladder and rectum
  • Constipation
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Indigestion and acid reflux
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness
  • Weight loss
  • Early satiety

Symptoms independently associated with the presence of ovarian cancer include pelvic and abdominal pain, increased abdominal size and bloating, and difficulty eating or feeling full. [1] Symptoms associated with later-stage disease include gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. [2] Presentation with swelling of a leg due to venous thrombosis is not uncommon. Paraneoplastic syndromes due to tumor-mediated factors lead to various presentations.

See Presentation for more detail.

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