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Ovarian cancer is known as the 'silent killer'. So, it is important for women to understand the subtle signs.

Ovarian cancer can strike women of the age group of 16-65 and often goes undetected. It is generally diagnosed when it becomes life threatening and starts spreading into the stomach and pelvis.

However, if it's detected in the early stages it can be cured and the tumour can be completely uprooted. 

Since September is the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, let's take a look at the subtle symptoms that you should take seriously and go to a doctor soon.

Bloated stomach

Bloating of the abdomen is common before periods or after having a meal but if you feel unusually full despite not eating much, it can be of concern. It can be a sign of ovarian cancer as Elizabeth Jewell, MD, MHSc, who is a Medical Scientific Advisory Board Member of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition said: "In studies, almost half of patients reported abdominal pain/discomfort and abdominal swelling/bloating."

Weight loss

If you are losing weight even without trying it, for absolutely no reason, it can be signs of ovarian cancer. It can be signs of an advanced form of cancer and need to be treated as soon as possible.

Urine urgency

Frequent urination and burning sensation during urination can be symptoms of ovarian cancer. Often people ignore it, thinking it to be simple urinary tract infection. However, it can also be signs of ovarian cancer.

Barbara M. Buttin, MD, of Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Illinois says: "If tests are ordered, workups are done, and no other condition comes to light, ovarian cancer should be considered as a possibility."

Bowel changes

If in general you had a proper bowel schedule and it's messed up all of a sudden then you need to take a note. Women with ovarian cancer at times face constipation or diarrhea. If the changes don't go away in a few days as it happens in case of food poisoning, you should definitely see a doctor.

Lower back pain

Since lower back pain is associated with periods, or strain in muscles, there is a high tendency of ignoring it. However, if the pain remains, there is a chance that it is a sign of ovarian cancer and you need to visit the doctor soon.

Painful sex

Another symptom of ovarian cancer is experiencing pain during sex. You should see a doctor in such a case.


If the feeling of nausea and fatigue sticks around, one should have a check up. As a gynecologic surgeon and oncologist, Benedict Benigno, MD, says that ovarian cancer can cause a "vague and fleeting nausea at first, leading to intermittent outright nausea and vomiting."