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Last updated March 22, 2017 (originally published March 31, 2013)

By Alison Turner, Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors, Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and
other members of our Editorial Board.]





Have you ever experienced
bloating, constipation, or
nausea?  If you don’t answer yes, then you’re probably not
thinking hard enough. These very common symptoms could
be related to your menstrual cycle or to simple digestive
problems. Or, more rarely, they can indicate ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth deadliest cancer among women,
and accounts for approximately 3% of all cancers in women.  


The American Cancer Society calculates that a woman’s risk
for getting ovarian cancer in her lifetime is 1 in 71, and that
about half of the women who are diagnosed are 60 years of
age or older.  Unfortunately, the roll call of famous women
who have died of ovarian cancer is long, and includes the
brilliant comedienne Gilda Radner, Coretta Scott King, widow
of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, actress Loretta
Young, talk show host Dinah Shore and Queen Mary I of
England.

Despite the distressingly high prevalence of ovarian cancer, it
may be easy to mistake its major symptoms for those of
other conditions.  Unfortunately, the longer the cancer
proceeds undiagnosed, the more likely the tumor is to
spread beyond the ovaries.  How will we know ovarian
cancer when we see it? What are the signs of ovarian cancer
that you may miss?

First thing’s first: ovarian cancer is cancer of the ovaries,
which is the female reproductive organ that produces eggs.  
While direct causes of ovarian cancer are unknown, the risk
for its development seems to be related to certain factors.  
The more children a woman has, for instance, and the earlier
in life she gives birth, the
lower her risk for ovarian cancer.  

Additionally, some birth control pills reduce the risk, while
taking estrogen replacement – without progesterone – for
five years or more may increase the risk of ovarian cancer.  
There is also some evidence that ovarian cancer can arise
from certain gene defects.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer, and how can we
tell them apart from other conditions?  The National
Institutes of Health reports that if those pesky, common
symptoms of ovarian cancer such as bloating, feeling full
quickly, and abdominal pain, last daily for more than a few
weeks, it may be time to see your doctor.   

Other symptoms of ovarian cancer include
abnormal
menstrual cycles, digestive problems such as constipation or
gas, lack of appetite, and vomiting.  

Check out the list below for 10 expert-tested symptoms or
associations that you may have missed when considering
whether or not you or someone you know could be at risk
for ovarian cancer.

Top 10 Signs of Ovarian Cancer You May Overlook




























1. Ovarian Cancer: A Pain in the Abs

Quick, name ten reasons why a woman’s abs might hurt: she
did sit-ups, she has cramps, she slept funny, she ate
something a little off…the list could go on and on.  The
ordinary nature of this symptom may be why having sore
abs is often overlooked as a sign for ovarian cancer.
Unfortunately, according to a study conducted in the UK,
pain in your abdominal region is one of the cancer's most
common symptoms.

In 2009, experts in the UK including Rosemary Tate with the
Brighton and Sussex Medical School,  developed a
“generalizable strategy for investigating presenting
symptoms and delays in diagnosis” of ovarian cancer with
the help of reports of 344 women with ovarian cancer.  

Throughout their number crunching, the researchers found
that abdominal pain was the most commonly reported
symptom among ovarian cancer patients, reported at a rate
of 41%.

The high frequency of sore abs in women with ovarian
cancer is alarming. Then again, these numbers don't mean
that every time a woman says her abs hurt you should sound
the “C word” alarm.  If you experience abdominal pain for
longer than usual, and if you have any of the other ovarian
cancer symptoms listed above, you should see a doctor for
screening.


[Update:

The type of pain you can experience in your ovaries can be
acute or chronic or both. Chronic pain is more strongly
associated with ovarian cancer. There is some evidence that
eating certain common foods, such as onions, may actually
help to lower your risk fro ovarian cancer and relieve ovary
pain. Read more about
types of ovary pain and foods that
help to relieve ovary pain
.]

2.
High Levels of Prolactin Indicate a Higher Risk for Ovarian
Cancer

Both men and women have the hormone prolactin, but only
women know how to use it.  While there is no known normal
function for the hormone in men, in women prolactin
stimulates breast development and milk production.  

Normal values for non-pregnant women are between 2 and
29 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), and in pregnant
women from 10 to 209 ng/mL. A higher level of the
hormone could indicate conditions such as
hypothyroidism,
kidney disease, or a response to certain medications.
Additionally, new research from 2013 has discovered that
high levels of prolactin could be associated with a risk for
ovarian cancer, particularly in obese women.

In 2013, a team of scientists including Tess Clendenen with
the Department of Population Health at the New York
University School of Medicine  retrieved data from 230 cases
of ovarian cancer and over 400 controls.  

They looked for whether “pre-diagnostic circulating
prolactin” was associated with risk of ovarian cancer, and if
lifestyle and reproductive factors had anything to do with
the circulation of prolactin.  

The answer, they found, depends on whether you are
overweight. They found a “significant positive association”
between prolactin and the risk for ovarian cancer in women
with a BMI greater than 25 kh/m2, but not for women with
a lower BMI.  

Furthermore, prolactin levels were “significantly lower” in
post-menopausal women, women who had given birth, and
past users of oral contraceptives.  

While there are a lot of variables going on in the above
study, the team concludes that “prolactin may be associated
with increased risk of ovarian cancer, particularly in
overweight/obese women.”

If you get tested and results show higher than normal
amounts of prolactin, you still may not have cancer. Some
women show high levels of the hormone prolactin after
emotional stress, high-protein meals, and even recent
exercise. (Read more about foods and habits that can help to
decrease stress hormones in your body.)

3.
Too Much Calcium in the Blood Might Mean Ovarian Cancer

We’re used to hearing doctors and experts praise calcium for
its crucial job of maintaining strong bones and teeth and
making sure other parts of our bodies function correctly.  
Too much of the stuff, however, can cause problems.  

Hypercalcemia is the name given to above-normal levels of
calcium in your blood. Hypercalcemia can be caused by a
number of factors, including over-activity in one or more of
the parathyroid glands, medications, an excessive use of
calcium and
vitamin D supplements --- and cancer.  

In 2012, a group of researchers from North Carolina and
Wisconsin, including Gary Schwartz with the Departments of
Cancer  Biology, Urology, and Epidemiology and Prevention
at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North
Carolina,  investigated whether high levels of serum calcium
could predict ovarian cancer.  

Using data from the Third National Health and Nutrition
Survey, they found a 52% higher risk for ovarian cancer
with each 0.1mmol/L increase in total serum calcium.  The
group concludes that “higher serum calcium may be a
biomarker of ovarian cancer.”

[Editor's note:

There are  many other symptoms for excess calcium levels in
your blood, including confusion, excessive fatigue and pain
in your bones.]

Most of us don’t find the time to fit in a serum calcium test
for the whim of it. However, if you get tested for other
reasons and find out your serum calcium levels are high, you
may want to keep your eye out for other warning signs of
ovarian cancer.

4.
Feeling Bloated Can Indicate Ovarian Cancer


Continue reading   page 1   page 2










































Related:  
Why Is My Period So Heavy? /
Why Can't I Get Pregnant? /
Hair on My Face --Causes and Top 10 Natural Remedies /
Ideal Diet to Reduce Fibroid Tumors /
Pelvic Cancer-Symptoms and Treatments
/How to Lose Weight After Menopause

/Best Breakfast to Fight Arthritis/ Health Dangers of Milk /
Lose Weight by Lowering Thermostat / Lose Belly Fat After
the Baby/ Foods That Shrink Your Waist/ Drinking Cold
Water Burns Calories / Six Pack Abs-A Guided Tour /Top 10
Foods That Fight Anemia / How Much Is Too Much Salt?
/
Sugar-The Disease Connection / Are Diet Sodas Bad for
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Breakfast for Arthritis /Healing Foods Links /  Foods That
Shrink Your Waist / Foods That Lower Cholesterol/ VLDL-
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Chronic back pain can be a  sign of ovarian
cancer.