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What Is the Connection between Ovarian Cancer and Back Pain?

Article Details
  • Written By: Cindy Quarters
  • Edited By: S. Pike
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Ovarian cancer is cancer that grows in a woman’s ovaries. The location of the ovaries makes ovarian cancer less likely to found before it has spread throughout the abdomen and spread to other organs in the body. Symptoms may not be felt or recognized until it is too late, so ovarian cancer is often fatal. This cancer does have some symptoms which, if identified in time can help to identify ovarian cancer and treat it before it is too late. One of these symptoms is chronic back pain.

As the cancer grows, it can push on other organs, causing a number of different symptoms. Ovarian cancer and back pain are often linked because the growing cancer pushes on nerves and organs from within, causing chronic lower back pain. The difficulty is that many other things can cause back pain as well, and women and their doctors may both dismiss back pain as insignificant, the result of back strain, poor posture or some other non-serious issue.

There are other symptoms that may signal ovarian cancer. The link between ovarian cancer and back pain is important, especially if the pain is coupled with other symptoms, in which case it should be checked by a physician as soon as possible. Some of those symptoms are chronic gas, frequent nausea, an ongoing lack of energy, constipation or other changes in bowel habits, the need to urinate frequently and generalized pelvic discomfort.

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Despite difficulty of linking ovarian cancer and back pain because the symptoms are so vague, doctors now feel that there are six main indicators that require testing for ovarian cancer. These are: a recent — in the past 12 months or so — onset of pelvic or abdominal pain, bloating or an increase in abdominal size, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly. Even though these symptoms could signal any number of other conditions, they should be taken seriously and investigated immediately.

Tests are available to help confirm the link between ovarian cancer and back pain that a woman is experiencing. A CA-125 blood test looks for indications in the blood that cancer is present, though other conditions can also cause high CA-125 levels. If the blood test shows abnormal readings, additional procedures will be used to determine the cause. A transvaginal ultrasound can often help to identify the presence of ovarian cancer, especially if the cancer has grown large enough to produce symptoms. A woman who is concerned about her health may need to insist that her doctor take her symptoms seriously, as these tests can discover ovarian cancer early enough that it can be successfully treated and save her life.

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