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New Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

Often referred to as the "silent killer" due to the common belief that there are no warning signs or symptoms, ovarian cancer is the most deadly reproductive cancer.

Sanford Clinic Joins Efforts to Educate Women about New Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

 Audio Interview

As part of Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, Sanford Clinic physicians and the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF) announce the first national consensus on ovarian cancer symptoms.  Often referred to as the "silent killer" due to the common belief that there are no warning signs or symptoms, ovarian cancer is the most deadly reproductive cancer.

Dr. Maria Bell
Dr. Maria Bell
The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation recently led an effort to form a consensus in response to ovarian cancer survivors who long held the belief that there were common symptoms of ovarian cancer.  Researchers recently concluded that the following symptoms are much more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than women in the general population. These symptoms include:
- Bloating
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)

Women who have these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks should see their doctor, preferably a gynecologist. Maria Bell, MD, a gynecologic oncologist with Sanford Women’s Health, reminds women to listen to their bodies. 

"Women are the care takers of their family, but often neglect their own health. In order to be the best mother/wife/daughter, you need to be healthy," Dr. Bell says.

When diagnosed at Stage I, ovarian cancer can be 90% curable. Unlike cervical cancer, there is no screening test for ovarian cancer, making symptom recognition and regular pelvic examinations the primary ways to detect the cancer early.

It is estimated that more than 22,000 women will be told they have ovarian cancer this year and more than 15,000 will die from this deadly cancer. Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women. At present, about 80% of these cancers are not diagnosed in their early stages, leading to a reduced chance of survival.

September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. The month is set aside to help educate millions of women about detection and prevention tools that can help save lives.

The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF) is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure public awareness of gynecologic cancer prevention, early diagnosis and proper treatment. In addition, the Foundation supports research and training related to gynecologic cancers. GCF advances this mission by increasing public and private funds that aid in the development and implementation of programs to meet these goals.


Click here to listen to Dr. Maria Bell


Contact:
Stacy Bauer Jones | Media Relations Coordinator
(605) 328-7056 | jonesst@sanfordhealth.org