Ovarian cancer: would you recognise the signs?

Symptoms you should never ignore

Ovarian Cancer Explained

Ovarian cancer is estimated to affect more than 7,000 women in the UK each year, with eight out of ten cases occurring in women over the age of 50.

As the symptoms of ovarian cancer can be mistaken for those of other conditions, it often goes unnoticed in the early stages.

Main signs and symptoms
Increased abdominal size and persistent bloating, persistent pelvic and abdominal pain, and difficulty eating and feeling full quickly, or feeling nauseous are the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Because these symptoms can be associated with less serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome of pre-menstrual syndrome, they are often dismissed by sufferers (and misdiagnosed by GPs) in the early stages of cancer. Speak to your doctor and ask for a second opinion if you're concerned.

Other symptoms to watch for include needing to urinate more frequently, back pain, changes in your bowel habits or prolonged feelings of fatigue.

The charity Ovarian Cancer Action advises keeping a symptom diary, keeping a note of how many of the symptoms you have and for how long.

Three products related to ovarian cancer:

Cancer Research women's blue t-shirt, £7.50

Ovarian Cancer Awareness ribbon enamel badge, £3.99

Memoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer, £4.84

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What to Expect from Ovarian Cancer Treatment