Monday, June 3, 2024

Is Fatigue A Symptom Of Ovarian Cancer

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How Fatigue Can Affect Your Daily Life

Denise Sheets, RN: Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Fatigue can be very frustrating. You and your relatives might underestimate how much it can affect daily life.

Everyday life can be hard work and you might not have the energy to cook, clean, bathe or go shopping. You might not even feel up to a chat. Things that you used to find second nature or easy are now a task and can be hard work.

You and your doctor can sometimes overlook fatigue, especially if you have other side effects. Its important to tell your doctor or nurse about how youre coping day to day and if you are struggling.

Fatigue can affect the way you feel about yourself and your relationships with other people. You can feel very down and not want to go out or be with people which can be hard for them to understand.

You might have to stop working or cut down your hours. This can affect how much money you have.

You might feel like fatigue is a constant reminder of your cancer and this can be hard to accept.

You might worry that because you feel so tired all the time your cancer could be getting worse. But it is more likely to be a side effect of treatment, or due to the fact that cancer can cause fatigue.

Fatigue is very real and can have a big impact on your life. Let your doctor or nurse know if you think you have symptoms of fatigue. There are ways of managing it and your medical team will try to help you.

Effects Of Inflammatory Cytokines

There are several mechanisms by which cytokine-associated changes may affect sleep, including modulation of sleep architecture, changes in circadian patterns, and a general increase in vegetative symptoms.

4.1.1 Effects of inflammatory cytokine signaling on sleep architecture

The present findings are consistent with data indicating that inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 are associated with changes from slow wave to increased REM sleep and with longer sleep latency . Modulation of sleep architecture by IL-6 has also been observed in experimental settings . Although specific effects on sleep architecture may vary across different experiments and species, inflammatory processes appear to be able to induce sleep disturbances via alterations in sleep architecture conversely, sleep disturbances have been shown to induce inflammatory cytokines .

4.1.2 Effects of inflammatory cytokine signaling on circadian patterns

IL-6 is thought to be a primary mediator of sleepiness and the homeostatic sleep drive . Elevations in serum IL-6 have been associated with two specific variations in Per3, a clock gene associated with circadian preference and sleep in a sample of male veterans . Data supports both a direct relationship between IL-6 and sleep as well as indirect influences on sleep via effects on the circadian pacemaker . It is also possible that sleep-wake regulation may be influenced by interactions between neuroendocrine hormones, cytokines, and the circadian pacemaker .

Is Your Fatigue A Symptom Of Cancer

Could your fatigue be the first symptom of cancer? At one point or another, we have all experienced fatigue. For most of us, it is temporary, usually caused by stress or being overworked.

For some people, however, fatigue can become persistent, occurring daily. When fatigue becomes frequent, it is natural to be concerned about what may be causing it.

One of the first things many people think maybe the culprit for their fatigue is cancer. When might feeling tired be a sign of cancer and how often is it?

We often hear about cancer patients who are extremely fatigued, but a lot of cancer-related fatigue is caused by the side effects of cancer treatment, not always cancer itself. In other words, for people with many cancers, the fatigue begins after diagnosis.

While fatigue alone without other symptoms is uncommon in many cancers, for people with leukemias and lymphomas fatigue may well be the first symptom.

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Recognizing The Signs And Symptoms Of Ovarian Cancer

In its earliest stages, ovarian cancer does not cause symptoms. As the disease progresses there may be symptoms, but many women ignore the warning signs because the symptoms of ovarian cancer mimic so many other far less serious concerns. Thats why all women should pay close attention to their bodies, stay alert for changes in their health, and resist the temptation to self-diagnose. Unusual symptoms should not be ignored.

Early detection of ovarian cancer can impact the outcome of treatment. You should consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any of these troubling symptoms more than 12 days per month, or if you have consistent symptoms for more than two weeks.

What Causes Complex Ovarian Cysts


Its often not possible to determine the cause of an ovarian cyst.

Functional cysts occur due to a minor problem, usually involving hormones, in your normal menstrual cycle. Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition that causes many small, simple ovarian cysts. The exact cause is unknown, but it involves a hormone imbalance.

Endometriomas occur due to a condition called endometriosis, which causes cells from your uterine lining to grow outside of the uterus, including on your ovaries.

Cancerous cysts develop when mutated ovarian cells begin to grow and reproduce.

Ovarian cysts are quite common in women who ovulate. Youre less likely to develop cysts after menopause. If you do develop an ovarian cyst after menopause, it increases your risk for ovarian cancer.


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What Are The Signs Of Ovarian Cancer

The early signs of ovarian cancer are often vague and easily ignored or attributed to other causes. Some changes to watch for include:

  • Bloating
  • Back pain
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

While many of these symptoms can be caused by noncancerous conditions, when they are caused by ovarian cancer, they occur more often and tend to be more severe. Most women begin experiencing symptoms after the cancer has spread, but some women in early-stage ovarian cancer may notice these changes. In any case, women should consult with their physician if they are experiencing frequent symptoms.

Coping With Ovarian Cancer Fatigue

Ovarian cancer fatigue can make you feel tired, exhausted, drained and can affect your daily life. This type of fatigue is generally a side effect of your cancer treatments or a symptom of the cancer.

Cancer-related fatigue is one of the most common symptoms in people with ovarian cancer. One qualitative study in a 2015 paper by researchers from the University of Texas found at least 93 percent of ovarian cancer patients report fatigue, with at least 20 percent reporting severe levels of fatigue.

Another 2015 study out of Bergen, Norway, found cancer fatigue was reported by at least 53 percent of women treated for gynecological cancers and patients with fatigue reported higher levels of anxiety and depression. There was also a connection between fatigue and life quality.

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Speak Up At Doctors Appointments

Research shows that fatigue has been underreported, underdiagnosed, and undertreated in patients with cancer.4 Many people may just assume this is just part of having cancer and not worth mentioning to their healthcare teams. However, there may be treatments to help! Also, your doctor may be able to address a problem that is causing some of the fatigue. For example, anemia may make fatigue worse. Treating this condition can help improve symptoms.

Warning Signs Of Ovarian Cancer You Shouldnt Ignore

Symptoms to look for with ovarian cancer

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Medically Reviewed by UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital

When diagnosed early, nearly all cases of ovarian cancer are treatable, and women can expect to continue living a full life. Unfortunately, though, the early signs of ovarian cancer are easily overlooked, and most women dont make an appointment until the cancer reaches its later stages.

The best thing you can do is learn the symptoms of ovarian cancer, your own risk factors, and what to do if you suspect a problem.

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Could It Be Ovarian Cancer

One reason why ovarian cancer is so difficult to detect in its early stages is that many women mistakenly believe that the changes they are experiencing are related to weight gain, the natural aging process or a health issue that is much less serious than cancer, such as gastrointestinal distress or a urinary tract infection. More often than not, one of those reasons is to blame however, it is important to be sureand not to wait to find out. Bottom line: If any of the above-listed symptoms is new for you, you should consult with a gynecologic oncologist right away.

What Causes Fatigue And Weakness

In people with cancer, weakness might be caused by having and recovering from surgery, low blood counts or low electrolyte levels, infection, or changes in hormone levels.

However, the causes of cancer-related fatigue are often harder to determine because there are often many factors involved. It might be from the cancer itself and/or a side effect of the cancer treatment. How cancer and treatment might cause fatigue is not well understood, but some possible reasons are:

  • Cancer and cancer treatment can change normal protein and hormone levels that are linked to inflammatory processes which can cause or worsen fatigue.
  • Treatments kill normal cells and cancer cells, which leads to a build-up of cell waste. Your body uses extra energy to clean up and repair damaged tissue.
  • Cancer forms toxic substances in the body that change the way normal cells work.

Besides direct effects of cancer and its treatment, people with cancer often also experience other things that can add together to increase fatigue. These are things like surgery, stress and worry, changes in activity level, and changes in blood counts, electrolytes, and hormone levels.

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Referral To A Gynaecological Oncologist

If your assessment and investigations suggest ovarian cancer is a possibility, ask your doctor for an immediate referral to a gynaecological oncologist.

Gynaecological oncologists are specialists gynaecologists who treat cancers such as ovarian cancer. It has been shown that women with ovarian cancer who are treated by a gynaecological oncologist have better outcomes.

Other Symptoms Of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Cancer  Why Early Diagnosis is so Important

Other symptoms that could mean you have ovarian cancer include:

  • Getting tired easily and being tired a lot
  • Unexplained weight changes — losing weight without trying, or bloating that seems like weight gain
  • Unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding, especially after menopause

Keep in mind that even though these things can be signs of ovarian cancer, itâs more likely that something else is causing them.

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Ways That Risks Are Reduced

Having one or more children is associated with a decreased risk of developing ovarian cancer, since being pregnant stops ovulatory cycles. Taking hormonal contraceptives, including oral contraceptive pills, for a long period of time has also been associated with a decreased risk of developing ovarian cancer since hormonal contraceptives can reduce ovulatory cycles.

Sleep And Fatigue At One

One year analyses were conducted on 63 participants who had completed adjuvant treatment, did not have documented disease progression, and were not on chemotherapy at the time of follow-up. IL-6 levels, global sleep, the sleep index score, and fatigue were all significantly associated at one year , whereas IL-6 was not significantly associated with the mood composite . All analyses controlled for pre-surgery values of the dependent variables . At one year, regression models indicated that higher levels of IL-6 were significantly associated with greater sleep disturbance , adjusting for covariates. . Secondary analyses with the revised sleep index showed similar results, though the relationship was non-significant . IL-6 was positively related to fatigue adjusting for covariates including pre-surgical fatigue, but this relationship was not significant.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Ovarian Cysts

Typically youll have ovarian cysts and not notice them at all. Sometimes, however, an ovarian cyst produces symptoms pain, pressure or abnormal bleeding. These issues often resolve on their own and dont require intervention.

These issues often resolve on their own and dont require intervention.

However, if the cyst grows and becomes abnormal or develops into an ovarian tumor, you may notice:

  • Pelvic pain: An ache in one side of the lower abdomen
  • Pressure: A feeling of fullness or heaviness in your abdomen

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Early Signs Of Ovarian Cancer

Understanding Ovarian Cancer Stages and Symptoms

In its early stages, ovarian cancer may not cause symptoms you would notice. Even as the disease advances, the signs can be unclear. You might confuse them with other common problems, such as constipation.

For many years, ovarian cancer was known as a âsilentâ disease. If you know the symptoms, you and your doctor will have a better chance of finding it early.

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Worried About Your Symptoms

If you regularly experience any one or more of these symptoms, which arent normal for you, its important that you book an appointment with your GP. Its unlikely that your symptoms are caused by a serious problem, but its important to get checked out. Take a look at our top tips for speaking to your GP.

Ovarian cysts in pre-menopausal women can produce symptoms similar to those for ovarian cancer but they arent known to increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

Other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome have symptoms similar to ovarian cancer but if your symptoms dont clear up, go back to your GP or seek a second opinion, even if youve had tests.

Seeing A Healthcare Provider For Fatigue

When your chief complaint is fatigue, cancer isn’t likely to be the first thing on your healthcare provider’s mind. Fatigue is related to many other conditions, and your healthcare provider will want to rule out the most common causes first.

This will be accomplished through a physical and routine blood work. Your healthcare provider will likely order a few different blood tests, especially tests to check on your thyroid function.

During your visit, your healthcare provider may ask several questions relating to your quality of life and what factors may contribute to your fatigue. Possible questions include:

  • How many hours do you work? Are you stressed at work?
  • Have you had any major life changes, such as marriage, birth, or death?
  • How often do you exercise?
  • Do you sleep well? How much sleep do you get?
  • How is your diet?
  • Do you have a family history of thyroid disease?

It is important to remember that fatigue is not exclusive to cancer. If you are experiencing fatigue, it may be related to a less serious condition or have a lifestyle cause.

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What Are Risks Associated With Dermoid Cysts

The extent on the nature and the very type of the cyst determine the risk associated with the cyst. Furthermore, even the size of the cyst determines whether the cyst can be dangerous or not. Such cysts particularly if they are large enough are susceptible to rupture. Larger cysts will cause discomfort and they also carry a risk of twisting. As it has been already mentioned dermoid cysts are benign. Still, in very small number of patients dermoid cysts can be malignant. In such instances the risk of additional complications significantly increases.

  • Of the 62 patients analyzed in a study, 32 were 0 to 5 years of age and 23 were 17 years of age or older .
  • Forty-seven patients underwent 1 or more imaging study during the process of diagnosis.
  • Thirty-two patients were suspected to have a dermoid cyst.
  • Forty-nine patients were analyzed to determine the depth of the cyst.
  • Bone was seen in 43 patients through imaging tests or during actual surgery, and nine of the 43 had bony problems .

What Are The Early Warning Signs Of Ovarian Cancer

What Are The Signs Of Ovarian Cancer Recurrence : Ovarian Cancer ...

Early-stage ovarian cancer rarely causes any symptoms. Advanced-stage ovarian cancer may cause few and nonspecific symptoms. It should also be noted that these symptoms are often mistaken for more common benign conditions.

These symptoms of ovarian cancer can develop at any stage of the condition. They include:

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Signs & Symptoms Of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect in the early stages. It usually starts as a painless lump or cyst on or in the ovary and gradually enlarges. As there is room for it to grow, it does not cause symptoms until it is quite large.

The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague and non-specific. Almost every woman will experience these symptoms at various times and in most cases the symptoms will not be caused by ovarian cancer.

The most commonly symptoms of ovarian cancer are:

  • increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating
  • abdominal or pelvic pain
  • feeling full after eating a small amount
  • needing to urinate often or urgently.

Additional symptoms may include:

  • bleeding after menopause or in-between periods
  • irregular periods
  • pain during sex or bleeding after.

These symptoms can occur in many women at various times and be unrelated to cancer, which is why ovarian cancer might not be diagnosed until it is quite advanced.

What Are The Differences Between Ovarian Cancer And Ovarian Cysts Symptoms And Signs

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms and Signs

Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose because symptoms often do not occur until late in the disease. Symptoms do not occur until the tumor has grown large enough to apply pressure to other organs in the abdomen, or until the cancer has spread to remote organs. The symptoms are nonspecific, meaning they could be due to many different conditions. Cancer is not usually the first thing considered in a woman having symptoms.

The only early symptom of the disease can be menstrual irregularity. Symptoms that come later include:

Ovarian Cysts Symptoms and Signs

Usually, ovarian cysts do not produce symptoms and are found during a routine physical exam. They also may be seen as an incidental finding on an ultrasound performed for other reasons. However, symptoms can be present, especially with large cysts or ruptured cysts. These are variable and may include:

  • Pain with sexual intercourse, especially with deep penetration
  • Lower abdominal or pelvic pain. This may be intermittent, or can be severe, sudden, and sharp
  • A feeling of lower abdominal or pelvic pressure or fullness
  • Chronic pelvic pain or low back pain throughout the menstrual cycle
  • Pelvic pain following exercise or vigorous activity
  • Pain or pressure with urination or bowel movement
  • Nausea and vomiting

Causes of Ovarian Cancer

In most instances of ovarian cancer, there is no identifiable cause however, family history does play a role.

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