Charity, Target Ovarian Cancer, states that every year in the UK approximately 7,400 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Some of us are at a greater risk of developing this type of cancer, but it is important that we all learn how to recognise the symptoms and signs in order to (if needed) receive an early diagnosis.
Research has shown that less than a third of women in the UK know how to identify specific ovarian cancer symptoms and signs. However, recognising the symptoms can increase chances of survival for five or more years from 46% to over 90%.
It’s important to emphasise that anyone with female reproductive organs can potentially develop ovarian cancer, but the two major factors which can increase your likelihood are age, those over 50 who have been through the menopause have a significantly higher rate of ovarian cancer, and family history. Other factors which can increase your predisposition are being overweight, having diabetes and smoking.
These are the symptoms to look out for which may indicate the condition include;
- Pain in the pelvic and stomach areas
- Needing to urinate frequently
- Persistent feeling of being bloated
- Feeling full quickly and/or general loss of appetite
- Changes in bowel habits
Although these are symptoms to be aware of, they do not definitively mean that ovarian cancer is the cause. The important thing is to be aware of them and consult your GP at the earliest opportunity. COVID-19 should not deter you from seeing a healthcare professional, as with an early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, 90% of women survive the disease.
March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Mark it by making sure that you know the symptoms and encourage others in your life to do the same.
If you or someone you care about have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and would like information about the support available, get in touch with the Healthwatch Essex Information team who will be delighted to help.