Ovarian cancer is often asymptomatic, especially in its early stages. When symptoms do occur, they tend to be vague and easily dismissed. For instance, the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are abdominal swelling and bloating, which can develop as an ovarian tumor grows and takes up more space within a woman’s abdominal cavity. Some people may attribute these symptoms to general weight gain. However, beyond the swelling and bloating caused by a tumor, there may also be another link between ovarian cancer and weight gain.
Why some women gain weight after developing ovarian cancer
Weight gain associated with ovarian cancer can occur for a number of reasons, such as:
- Reduced activity - Some cancer patients experience fatigue and a general lack of energy, which can lead to a reduction in physical activity that can promote weight gain.
- A side effect of treatment - Certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and hormone therapy, can cause weight gain either directly or through an increase in water or fluid retention (edema). Some medications can also slow the body’s metabolism, which in turn can lead to weight gain.
- A change in eating habits - During cancer treatment, some patients eat more than usual due to anxiety or intense food cravings. Additionally, patients who experience treatment-related nausea may find that they feel less nauseated with a full stomach.
It is important to note that weight gain is not unique to ovarian cancer patients; it can occur for similar reasons in patients with any type of cancer.
If you are experiencing unexplained weight gain or other ovarian cancer symptoms, you can consult with a specialist in the gynecological clinic at Moffitt Cancer Center. To request an appointment, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete our new patient registration form online.