This month is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month – a time dedicated to raising awareness about ovarian cancer and its symptoms. With ovarian cancer being the biggest gynaecological killer of women in the UK, many health charities have joined forces to raise awareness about the disease. This will hopefully reduce the number of deaths from ovarian cancer and help women to spot the symptoms earlier. Here, we remind you of the main symptoms of ovarian cancer.
The main symptoms of ovarian cancer include a frequent and persistent increase in abdominal size or bloating – not the kind of bloating that quickly comes and goes, but constant bloating. Difficulty eating or feeling full, pelvic or abdominal pain and needing to urinate more urgently or more often than usual are all common symptoms of ovarian cancer.
Other symptoms can include change in bowel habits, extreme fatigue and unexpected weight loss. If you regularly experience any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor. Whilst it is unlikely that the symptoms are signs of a serious problem, it's still important to get checked out.
If two or more cases of ovarian cancer have occurred in your family, you should also mention this to your doctor as the disease can sometimes run in families.
Charities such as Target Ovarian Cancer and Ovacome want to change the perception of ovarian cancer as a silent killer and increase recognition of symptoms so that cases can be diagnosed earlier and more lives can be saved.
Ovarian cancer may often be referred to as a 'silent killer', but cancer charities are discouraging people from using this term. Although three quarters of women are diagnosed once the cancer has already spread, it's a myth that symptoms only present themselves at a later stage. As shown above, there are many signs that can be detected early on, and the late-stage diagnosis is more likely caused due to women delaying visiting their doctor.