Symptoms of ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer can affect one or both ovaries. It is the sixth most common cause of cancer death in women.

Ovarian cancer is not as common as breast cancer, but like any other cancer, the earlier you detect it, the higher the likelihood of successful treatment.

Common ovarian cancer symptoms include:

  • abdominal bloating
  • difficulty eating
  • unexplained weight gain
  • constipation/diarrhoea
  • heartburn
  • severe back pain
  • urinating often
  • severe fatigue.


As you may have noticed, ovarian cancer symptoms are quite vague and non-specific, which can make it tricky to diagnose in the early stages of the disease. Nevertheless, it’s still important to be aware of the signs and symptoms, as well as risk factors.

Risk factors of ovarian cancer include:

  • aged over 45 years (but can occur at any age)
  • family history of ovarian or breast cancer at an early age
  • late menopause
  • infertility
  • never having children.


On the other hand, having had several children, breastfeeding and taking the contraceptive pill have all been shown to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

See your doctor if you are concerned about any symptoms and/or risks.

Read more at Jean Hailes for Women’s Health.

Related articles on YourLifeChoices:

Ovarian cancer explained

Angelina Jolie Pitt’s diary of surgery

YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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