During the early stages of ovarian cancer, symptoms are often vague and ill-defined. Symptoms may include pelvic or abdominal discomfort, bloating, difficulty eating or feeling full, increased abdominal size, or urinary symptoms (urgency and frequency).
In some women, ovarian cancer is initially suspected when a mass or lump is felt during a routine pelvic examination. However, a mass is not always detectable in the early stages of ovarian cancer. Even when a mass is detected, it does not necessarily mean that the woman has ovarian cancer. A number of other non-cancerous conditions can cause masses.
Because the initial symptoms are vague and nonspecific, the majority of women have advanced stage disease by the time the diagnosis is made. At this point, the woman may have more prominent symptoms such as abdominal distention (swelling), nausea, or a significant loss of appetite.