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How Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Went Unnoticed, Wake-Up Call To All Women

Update Date: Jan 16, 2017 11:45 PM EST

Ovarian Cancer symptoms could be elusive in the early stages. Perhaps this is what happened to 17-year old Ruby McKinnon from Windsor, Canada. August 2015 turned out to be the most tumultuous month in the energetic teen's life. Her experience could set an example to teens and women in the world.

Teen's Ovarian Cancer Survival Story

Recounting her experience to , the now 18-year-old said, "I remember just staring at my belly. It had gone from being flat the night before to this huge, solid bump a few hours later. It was so big, I looked 5 months pregnant. I started freaking out before calling out to my mum, who also thought I was pregnant."

A negative pregnancy test resulted in a series of scans and appointments to reveal a growing 17 cm tumour on Ruby's ovaries. She was diagnosed with stage 3 Ovarian Cancer. What followed was an emergency surgery to remove the tumor and chemotherapy to destroy cancer cells.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer

The initial symptoms of ovarian cancer may go unnoticed as they can be mistaken for signs of common ailments, according to Healthline.

Some of the early symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling of fullness even after a light meal
  • Abdominal pain, pressure or bloating
  • Abnormal Tiredness
  • Frequent urination or increased urge

Some other symptoms which can develop later are:

  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Back pain
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Painful Intercourse

Though these symptoms mask those of common illnesses, it should not be ignored if they persist. As the tumor grows, the severity of the symptoms increase and the treatment becomes more complex as the cancer may spread outside the ovaries. Experts underline the importance of early diagnosis to enable better treatment outcomes.

Risk factors of ovarian cancer

The exact cause of ovarian cancer is unclear, yet several studies have revealed some risk factors which can increase the chances of ovarian cancer.

Some of the risk factors include obesity, endometriosis, family history of ovarian cancer, and genetic mutations of as BRCA1 or BRCA2- genes linked to ovarian cancer. Those on hormone therapies or have used medicines for fertility are also at risk.

Ruby's experience can be a wake-up call to women about being aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer in order to catch the signs early and begin treatment without delay.


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