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Ask the Expert:

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Jill L. Depke, NP
Jill Depke, N.P.
Oncology nurse practitioner
Sees patients at Marshfield Clinic Weston Center

Question: What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?

Up until a couple of years ago, many people often referred to ovarian cancer as the "silent killer" because we thought there were no symptoms associated with it.

More recently, however, we have recognized that this disease does have identifiable symptoms, but they can be so subtle that it is more appropriately called "the disease that whispers.”

One of the main reasons ovarian cancer is deadly is that the disease often goes undiagnosed until it is advanced.

But if detected at its earliest stage, the five-year survival rate is actually greater than 93%.

Remember these potential symptoms that you can watch for to BEAT ovarian cancer:

  • Bloating that is persistent
  • Eating less but feeling fuller
  • Abdominal pain
  • Trouble with your bladder

Typically, two or more of these symptoms occur simultaneously and increase in severity over time.

Any woman who has any of these symptoms regularly for more than a few weeks should certainly see her health care provider.

We hope earlier diagnosis will lead to better outcomes.

Each year in the United States, more than 21,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and unfortunately, about 15,000 women die of the disease.​


For more information, visit the ​​​​​WINGS Survivorship​ page.