Ovarian cancer’s early stages aren’t asymptomatic as once thought. A new study uncovered seven symptoms (often reported to doctors) associated with ovarian cancer, according to researchers at the University of Bristol, England, reported by WebMD.

“Ovarian cancer is not silent, it’s noisy,” said William Hamilton, MD, the study’s lead author. “It’s just we’re not very good at deciphering the noise.”

The “noise” Hamilton refers to are the seven symptoms of ovarian cancer: abdominal distension, frequent urination, abdominal pain, postmenopausal bleeding, loss of appetite, rectal bleeding and abdominal bloating.

Researchers found that three of these symptoms—abdominal pain, abdominal distension and frequent urination—were all commonly reported at least six months before their diagnosis by ovarian cancer patients participating in the study.

All three symptoms were significantly associated with ovarian cancer.

The study results support other research indicating that warning signs often precede ovarian cancer.

“I think this reinforces what a lot of other studies have shown—that there are symptoms of ovarian cancer, and that patients and physicians should be aware of them,” said Andrew Li, MD, a gynecologic oncologist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Li also indicates, however, that he’s had healthy-seeming patients who developed these three symptoms over a three- or four-week period.

Another researcher, Joan Austoker, PhD, MA, BSc, of the University of Oxford in England, indicated that of the three symptoms, abdominal distention warrants urgent care.

Bottom line: If you experience any of the symptoms, especially abdominal distention, visit your physician for a thorough examination.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 21,550 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. About 14,600 are expected to die from the disease.

Read RH ‘s “Spotting Cancer” to learn about the importance of early detection.