Here in the UK, over 7,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year and it’s the sixth most common cancer affecting women. If a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the early stages then she has a 70% chance of survival, but unfortunately, the disease is still often detected once it has become more advanced, which is why it is often called ‘the silent killer’.
In the early stages, symptoms of the disease are often vague and are often dismissed merely as women’s problems, particularly in post-menopausal women. To mark Ovarian Cancer Month this March, here is a list of symptoms to be aware of:
- Persistent bloating
- Loss of appetite or feeling full quickly
- Abdominal or pelvic pain or pain in the lower back
- Needing to wee more frequently or more urgently
Guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to GPs is that they should offer ovarian cancer screening to women if they experience these symptoms more than 12 times in a month or continue for three weeks.
Advice for women over 50 who are experiencing symptoms similar to Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, is to see a GP for an ovarian cancer test as it is unusual for women over the age of 50 to develop this condition for the first time.
Other possible symptoms of ovarian cancer to be aware of include:
- Changes in bowel movements, either diarrhoea or constipation
- Feeling very tired for no reason
- Unexplained weight fluctuations (either weight gain or weight loss)
- Bleeding between periods (you should always see a GP if you experience any bleeding after the menopause)
- Pain during sex
At the moment, there is no national screening programme for ovarian cancer. At SureScan, we offer full screening for ovarian cancer including consultation for risk assessment and a combination of tests. For more advice and diagnosis, please call us on 07835 736627 or 0121 308 7774 to arrange an appointment for an ovarian cancer test.