You Wanted to Know: Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynecologic cancer and the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths in the US. Most of the early signs are hard to detect, making ovarian cancer a “silent” killer, as it’s often missed by doctors. I received this question on the signs of ovarian cancer on Twitter.


Bleeding between periods more commonly comes from other conditions, like uterine fibroids, polyps, changes in hormone levels, or using an IUD.

If you’re concerned about bleeding between your periods, it’s best to see a doctor about it and make sure to tell him or her:

  • How frequent/regular your periods are
  • If you’re taking any birth control
  • If you’re taking any other medications (like blood thinners, hormones or thyroid medication)

That said, the following are some ovarian cancer warning signs to watch out for:

  • Bloating
  • Frequent urination
  • Difficulty eating or early satiety
  • Abdominal pain (sometimes lower back pain)
  • Other rarer conditions that may indicate ovarian cancer include nausea/vomiting, difficulty breathing, feeling an abdominal mass, and postmenopausal bleeding (though this may also be a sign of uterine cancer)

If you’re still concerned about ovarian cancer, check out our Ovarian Cancer One-Sheet. To learn more about ovarian cancer, visit our Ovarian Cancer Prevention Center.