Press Releases

Kelly Mellott
Andrea Schnorr

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Emphasizes Importance of Recognizing Signs & Symptoms Associated with Ovarian Cancer

Questioning Physicians Often Key to Early Diagnosis and Increased Survival Rates

DALLAS (January 2009) Ovarian cancer, the leading killer among women’s gynecological cancers is difficult to detect, especially in the early stages because many women are unfamiliar with its symptoms and risk factors and have never discussed them with their physicians. A key strategy in promoting increased survival rates is to know the symptoms associated with the disease. In June 2007, The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) joined forces with the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation and other national organizations in announcing the first national consensus on ovarian cancer symptoms, which include: 

        » Bloating

        » Pelvic or abdominal pain or discomfort

        » Trouble eating or feeling full quickly

        » Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often

“We know that when women are diagnosed in Stage I of ovarian cancer, it is 90 percent curable,” said Carol Ansley, CEO of NOCC. “Empowering women with the knowledge of the most identifiable symptoms of ovarian cancer allow for early diagnosis and higher survival rates. “

Additional potential signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

        » Upset stomach or heartburn

        » Unexplained weight loss or gain

        » Fatigue

        » Menstrual changes

        » Pain during intercourse

        » Back pain

        » Constipation

Women who have these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks should consult their physician, preferably a gynecologist. Persistence of symptoms is key, especially when the symptoms do not resolve with normal interventions such as diet change, exercise, rest, etc. Also, a normal Pap test does not detect ovarian cancer, so additional testing will need to be done by a health practitioner to make a diagnosis. 

More than 20,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year.  Additionally, more than 15,000 will die from ovarian cancer.  NOCC is committed to increasing disease awareness to foster early diagnosis and help survival rates. 

About NOCC

Since its inception in 1995, the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) has been committed to raising awareness of ovarian cancer in communities across the country and to providing education and programs for women with ovarian cancer and their families. For more information on the “Break the Silence” campaign and to contact one of the NOCC local chapters, visit or call 1-888-OVARIAN. 

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The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization that provides public education and awareness about ovarian cancer through a toll-free Help Line, local NOCC Chapters, comprehensive website, peer support, publications, and awareness/educational programs. NOCC’s mission is to raise awareness and promote education about ovarian cancer. The Coalition is committed to improving the survival rate and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer. For more information on the “Break the Silence” campaign and to contact one of the local NOCC Chapters, visit or call 1-888-OVARIAN.


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