General Question

Jude's avatar

How long can you have Ovarian Cancer before noticing any signs (basically when you get to stage 4 - too late)

Asked by Jude (32134points) December 14th, 2011

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

8 Answers

janbb's avatar

I think the danger is that it can go a long time without detection but I don’t know exactly when it presents.

whitetigress's avatar

It’s not the ovarian cancer persay that is dangerous, its when the cancer starts to grow on functional organs that we need daily to go on with our lives, “liver, kidneys, brain, heart, etc” so non sexual organs. Most cancers cause like change of mood from what I’ve read, feel more draggy. I’ve only experienced lung cancer however. My grandpa coughed blood I believe?

SuperMouse's avatar

The biggest problem with ovarian cancer is that it is typically not diagnosed until it has spread to other organs. If you have a family history of ovarian cancer it is important to watch for the early – and typically very subtle signs. Keep in mind that not all ovarian cancer is genetic. Also, if there is a family history a woman should have an ultra-sound and pelvic exam yearly.

Jude's avatar

Looking at photos of my Mom 6 months prior to her being bedridden and I notice that her arms are extremely thin, her face drawn, but, her belly is distended (looks bloated). When she died, 11 months later, her belly was all tumor.

Bellatrix's avatar

@Jude, I thought my mother died from ovarian cancer for years (she didn’t, she had stomach cancer but that’s a whole different story), consequently I worried about it a lot. A real lot. As @SuperMouse said, the difficulty with ovarian cancer is the symptoms can be vague and the sort of things women might attribute to their normal cycle or menopause. Make sure you speak to your doctor about what you can do yourself to put your mind at ease. There is a tumour marker test and you can go for ultrasounds every now and then if you are concerned. I used to go and have one every couple of years after I reached a certain age.

There can be very few symptoms though. One of my friends was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer and has had radical surgery. She is in her early 30s. She found out because her lung collapsed. She is back at work now. I know the prognosis for S4 but she has come through the surgery and she is getting on with life. I don’t think she had any inkling she should be worried. You do, so you can be more vigilant and have whatever tests are available and become available and you can be alert.

Try not to let it freak you out. I know I was very worried about it. I’m so sorry about your mum.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
janbb's avatar

They do also sometimes recommend a prophylactic hysterectomy where there is a genetic background – my cousin had one.

lloydbird's avatar

@Jude To mention or not to mention? This is the dilemma that I agonize over whenever a cancer related question arises on this site.
This has been a predicament since I watched a documentary about a seemingly highly effective treatment being offered by a Dr. Burzynski at his clinic.
I hope that you (and the mods) will forgive my assumption that you would rather know about it than not know. Good luck.

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