Long believed to be undetectable in its early stages, ovarian cancer is often not discovered until it has progressed to its fatal phase. Because its symptoms mimic those of common digestive and bladder conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, many women—and frequently their physicians—don’t recognize its signs.

However, if the disease is discovered early, ovarian cancer is highly treatable, according to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (ovariancancer.org). Trust your intuition—visit your gynecologist immediately if any of the following symptoms seem unusual or gradually become more severe or persistent:

  • Abdominal pressure or swelling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Frequent or urgent need to urinate
  • Pelvic pain or discomfort
  • Pain during sexual intercourse