Ovarian cancer symptoms
The symptoms of ovarian cancer can be similar to other common conditions. This can make it difficult to diagnose early.
Symptoms are more likely to develop as the cancer grows and may include:
- pressure, pain or discomfort in the abdomen or pelvis
- a swollen or bloated abdomen
- changes in appetite (e.g. not feeling like eating, feeling full quickly)
- changes in toilet habits (e.g. constipation, diarrhoea, passing urine more often, increased wind)
- indigestion and feeling sick (nausea)
- feeling very tired
- unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- changes to periods such as heavy or irregular bleeding, or vaginal bleeding after menopause
- pain when having sex.
If you have any of these symptoms and they are new for you, are severe or continue for more than a few weeks, it is best to have a check-up. Keep a note of how often the symptoms occur and make an appointment to see your general practitioner (GP).
Ovarian Cancer Australia has produced a downloadable symptom diary for recording symptoms. You can also use it to help talk about your health concerns with your doctor.
The only symptoms I experienced were an intermittent backache, which worsened in severity and some stomach cramping. It was a dull ache at first, and I’d been gardening a lot so I initially thought I must have hurt my back.Read more about Chris’s experience of ovarian cancer
For an overview of what to expect during all stages of your cancer care, visit Ovarian cancer – your guide to best cancer care. This is a short guide to what is recommended, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.
Podcast for people affected by cancer
Dr Nisha Jagasia, Gynaecological Oncologist, Mater Hospital Brisbane, QLD; Sue Hayes, Consumer; Bronwyn Jennings, Gynaecology Oncology Clinical Nurse Consultant, Mater Health, QLD; Dr Andrew Lee, Radiation Oncologist, Canberra Region Cancer Centre and Canberra Hospital, ACT; A/Prof Tarek Meniawy, Medical Oncologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA; Caitriona Nienaber, Cancer Council WA; Jane Power, Consumer; A/Prof Sam Saidi, Senior Staff Specialist, Gynaecological Oncology, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW
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