When To Call The Doctor
Because the signs of ovarian cancer are common and somewhat vague, itâs hard to know when to call the doctor. Get checked out if your symptoms:
- Are new to you
- Happen more than 12 times in a month
- Donât go away with changes such as exercise, diet, laxatives, or more rest
Causes Of Cancer Fatigue
Someone with cancer may experience fatigue for several reasons.
Colon cancer and stomach cancer can cause anemia through blood loss in the bowels, likewise leading to fatigue.
The metabolic processes of tumors can also contribute to fatigue. Cancer cells aggressively compete for nourishment with normal cells.
Some cancers lead to fatigue by disrupting normal hormone functioning. Others secrete substances known as cytokines, which in turn can cause fatigue.
Fatigue has many causes besides cancer, though. In that respect, fatigue accompanied by unintentional weight loss is more concerning than fatigue alone.
How Cancer Treatment Causes Fatigue
When you start a new treatment, the body produces cytokines to help boost the immune response. When cells die, the body works to clean up those dying cells, causing inflammation. Its a desirable response in this case, but inflammationboth acute and chronicalso causes fatigue.
You can compare this fatigue to how you feel when your body fights the flu or another infection, like COVID-19. While your bodys working hard to fight the infection, you feel tired.
How and when you experience fatigue from cancer treatment may vary according to the treatment youre receiving and its side effects.
Recommended Reading: How To Overcome Hypothyroid Fatigue
Stay Active When Possible
Staying active and exercising when possible can reduce fatigue. While some may think that exerting energy will just make them more tired, research shows it can help. In one study, cancer patients who engaged in regular exercise felt less severe fatigue. These patients also had improved well-being, functional status, and overall quality of life. Some studies have shown that those who exercise regularly have 40% to 50% less fatigue.2,3
Signs And Symptoms Of Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer may cause several signs and symptoms. Women are more likely to have symptoms if the disease has spread, but even early-stage ovarian cancer can cause them. The most common symptoms include:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
- Urinary symptoms such as urgency or frequency
These symptoms are also commonly caused by benign diseases and by cancers of other organs. When they are caused by ovarian cancer, they tend to be persistent and a change from normal for example, they occur more often or are more severe. These symptoms are more likely to be caused by other conditions, and most of them occur just about as often in women who dont have ovarian cancer. But if you have these symptoms more than 12 times a month, see your doctor so the problem can be found and treated if necessary.
Others symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:
- Changes in a woman’s period, such as heavier bleeding than normal or irregular bleeding
- Abdominal swelling with weight loss
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Goff, B. A., Mandel, L. S., Drescher, C. W., Urban, N., Gough, S., Schurman, K. M., Patras, J., Mahony, B. S. and Andersen, M. R. , Development of an ovarian cancer symptom index. Cancer, 109: 221-227.
You May Like: Why Does Psoriasis Cause Fatigue
Worried About Your Symptoms
If you regularly experience any one or more of these symptoms, which aren’t normal for you, it’s important that you book an appointment with your GP. It’s unlikely that your symptoms are caused by a serious problem, but it’s 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 aren’t 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 don’t clear up, go back to your GP or seek a second opinion, even if you’ve had tests.
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. That’s 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.
You May Like: Adrenal Fatigue And Hair Loss
The Major Change To Covid Rules From Today
It was then discovered that Hannah had a melon-sized tumour on her ovaries that had ruptured.
She was later diagnosed with ovarian cancer after being taken to Melbourne’s Mercy Hospital for Women where surgeons removed the 20cm tumour.
Hannah said: “I was so angry, because for well over two years, I had been suffering from recurrent urinary tract infections and having so many antibiotics thrown at me to fix it.
Ovarian cancer is diagnosed in almost 7,500 women in the UK every year, taking the lives of 4,200.
The risk of diagnosis sharply increases from middle-age, with most women diagnosed after the menopause.
But around 1,000 women under the age of 50 are still diagnosed every year, which is why its important younger women still know the symptoms, Target Ovarian Cancer says.
Only 35 per cent of patients in the UK live for at least 10 years post diagnosis.
How To Diagnose Ovarian Cancer Early
The earlier cancer is detected, the more treatment options are available. This is true for cancer in general and especially ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is one of the more difficult types of cancer to detect in its early stages, because the symptoms can be subtle or vague.
If youre experiencing any of the symptoms above, its important to speak with a doctor, even if youre not in a high-risk category.
Its especially important to get checked by a doctor if you:
- have a family history of reproductive cancer
- are over 60 years old
- have other ovarian cancer risk factors
- are noticing symptoms
A doctor may use the following screening methods to detect ovarian cancer:
Also Check: Can Mild Sleep Apnea Cause Fatigue
Common Symptoms Of Ovarian Cancer
There are four main symptoms of ovarian cancer. You might have them even in early stages of the disease. They are:
- Pain in your pelvis or belly
- Trouble eating or quickly feeling that youâre full
- Always feeling like you need to pee or feeling like you need to pee often
Many things other than ovarian cancer can cause these symptoms. Think about whether theyâre unusual for you and whether theyâre happening more often or seem to be getting worse.
How Does Cancer Cause Fatigue
, cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. That growth requires energy, and cancer absorbs energy that would normally travel to the rest of the body.
Its uncommon to notice this energy drain, however, unless the cancer has metastasized to organs such as the liver, where it may affect metabolism, or the bone marrow.
When cancer invades the bone marrow, it affects the production of blood cells. White blood cells help fight infection. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin and carry oxygen to and from organs and tissues throughout the body, providing energy and removing waste from cells. Cancer may cause a reduction in the production of red blood cells, resulting in anemia, which causes fatigue.
Inflammation caused by cancer may be another key contributor to cancer-related fatigue. When your body is fighting a disease, it releases chemicals like cytokines to trigger the immune response, but these chemicals may also cause fatigue.
In patients with advanced cancer, the disease may produce cachexins, which reduce your appetite and may result in cachexia, a serious cancer-related condition that causes substantial weight loss and muscle wasting.
Don’t Miss: Symptoms Of Compassion Fatigue And Burnout
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.
Symptoms Of Ovarian Cysts Masses Or Tumors
A number of conditions can cause a mass or swelling in your pelvic area. They may be malignant or benign . You might not know that you have one until your doctor spots it during a routine checkup.
A pelvic mass can cause symptoms similar to those of ovarian cancer, such as:
- Pelvic pain
- Swelling or a bloated feeling in your belly
- Needing to pee often
- Aching in your lower back and thighs
- Trouble empting your bladder or bowels
- Pain during sex
Don’t Miss: Can Chronic Fatigue Cause Nausea
The 9 Signs Of Ovarian Cancer Every Woman Needs To Know
Ovarian cancer begins when the genes that regulate cell growth mutate and allow abnormal cells to thrive. These rogue cells multiply at a rapid rate and eventually form a tumor. Left untreated, ovarian cancer can spread to other areas of your body. Ovarian cancer rates are highest in women in their early to mid-60s.
Although ovarian cancer is considered rare in women under 40, it’s important to know that women of all ages can develop ovarian cancer. Fertility treatments, endometriosis, obesity, and a family history of ovarian, breast, or uterine cancer can increase your risk.
Only 19 percent of women who discover they have ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the early stages. Diagnosing ovarian cancer can be more difficult because there are no routine tests to effectively screen for the disease. That’s why all women should consult their physician if they experience any of the following signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer.
Dont Ignore These Common Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
While ovarian cancer symptoms can be vague, the key is paying attention to how long symptoms last, according to Ahmed. The story for so many women with ovarian cancer is that theyve actually had symptoms for months before diagnosis, she says.
Talk to your doctor if your symptoms are sustained they dont come and go, they do not go away within one to three weeks, or over-the-counter medications dont help. By recognizing these early symptoms, women may have a fighting chance to catch and treat the disease before it progresses:
You May Like: Does Carbidopa Levodopa Cause Fatigue
Associations Of Changes In Sleep Fatigue And Il
To examine the relationships between changes in IL-6, fatigue and sleep over time, analyses were conducted on the subset of patients who had completed measures of fatigue, sleep, and had levels of IL-6 at both time points. Controlling for stage, age, BMI, baseline sleep and one year mood, percent change in IL-6 over time was significantly associated with change in sleep over time . This indicates that, for example, a 10% decrease in IL-6 would correspond with a 0.13 point improvement in the global sleep change score, suggesting a minimal effect, although statistically significant. . Secondary analyses excluding 2 outliers were consistent with these findings . In parallel analyses, including similar covariates and pre-surgery fatigue, percent change in IL-6 over time was associated with change in fatigue over time but findings did not reach significance . . Secondary analyses excluding the two IL-6 outliers were consistent with these findings .
Graph of relationship between Percent Change in IL-6 and Change in Global Sleep from pre-surgery to one year. Y-axis values reflect unstandardized residuals controlling for stage, age, BMI, pre-surgical sleep, and mood at one year.
Tips For Managing Cancer Fatigue
- Reactions 0 reactions
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms affecting people with ovarian cancer and often one of the most debilitating. It can be both a symptom of ovarian cancer and a side effect of treatment. People often describe it as a feeling of extreme tiredness, weakness, and lack of energy. Cancer fatigue is more than just feeling tired. While rest and sleep may recharge most people, it does not work that way for those living with ovarian cancer. While fatigue may be more difficult to treat than symptoms like pain or nausea, there are some ways to help manage fatigue.1
Don’t Miss: Weight Loss Loss Of Appetite Fatigue
How Common Is Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is the eighth most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in Australia. Every year around 1800 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Australia.
Even though ovarian cancer is less common than lung cancer or breast cancer, it is important to be aware of its signs and symptoms as early diagnosis improves treatment outcomes. If a woman is diagnosed early, while the cancer is localised , survival rate is over 90%. However, only 29% of women diagnosed at a late stage will survive for more than five years.
Currently there are no reliable early detection tests for ovarian cancer and therefore no screening programs are available.
Understanding The Signs Of Ovarian Cancer
- Hannah Catton, 24, is living in Australia far from the rest of her family while she undergoes chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. Her diagnosis came after being dismissed multiple times by doctors when she was suffering from fatigue, bloating, irregular periods and repeated urinary infections.
- Ovarian cancer is called the cancer that whispers because its symptoms can be very vague. People should remain vigilant and aware of any new or unusual symptoms and report to their physicians for appropriate evaluation.
- Being your own advocate can be key to getting a correct cancer diagnosis and obtaining the best treatment possible while dealing with a diagnosis.
Catton, 24, moved from England to Australia to work at a veterinary practice in 2019. But health problems began to arise once she was far from home. She asked a doctor about the fatigue, stomach bloating, repeated urinary infections and irregular periods shed been experiencing, but she says they chalked her issues to stress and recommended she lose weight.
Recommended Reading: Can Basal Cell Carcinoma Cause Fatigue
How Long Can Fatigue Last
Cancer related fatigue is different from tiredness which is usually short term and you feel better after you stop, sleep or rest. Cancer fatigue doesnt usually go away with sleep or rest. It can be severe and last a long time.
Fatigue can last for different amounts of time depending on whats causing it. Most people start to feel better after treatment finishes. But it can take several weeks or months before you feel like your old self. In some people it may take a lot longer.
Helping Learning And Concentration
If you are finding it difficult to concentrate or learn something new:
- Reduce background noise
- Reduce the chances of interruption
- Move to a quiet space
- Engage in mental tasks when you are at your brightest
- Remember that it is always easiest to learn something new if one is first shown what to do and then is given the chance to try and do it oneself a few times under supervision/guidance.
- Repeatedly practice new things a few times soon after learning them.
Recommended Reading: Is Fatigue A Side Effect Of Cosentyx
Do Not Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Make sure you do not expend too much energy while you are battling fatigue. Friends and family may be willing to help out around the house, cook a meal, and run errands for you. It may be tough to accept help and you may feel like you are a burden. Still, do not be afraid to take loved ones up on their offer they want to help!
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.
Also Check: Swollen Feet And Ankles Fatigue Weight Gain