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Two thirds of us wouldn't recognise the symptoms of ovarian cancer, study finds

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It’s easy to dismiss ovarian and other female cancers as something to worry about when we’re older. But there’s been a sharp increase in the incidence of ovarian cancer in women in their early 30s, and over half of the 7,000 UK cases diagnosed a year occur in women under 65.

So, it’s important to know how to recognise the symptoms, especially as a new study by BMI Healthcare reveals that two thirds of women wouldn’t be able to identify the telltale signs.

The research says that of the 20 women diagnosed a day in the UK, 60% are diagnosed late. And the reason becomes clearer when you’re presented with the symptoms.

Similar to those of common digestive problems and the period pains we experience every month, the NHS notes the main signs of ovarian cancer are a feeling of constant bloating, a swollen tummy, loss of appetite and discomfort in your tummy or pelvic area.

woman with stomach pain

Read more: A terminal cancer patient explains why we need to seize the day


Back pain, pain during sex and chronic tiredness are also common secondary symptoms.

Swotting up on the signs is paramount for women, not least because it’s currently ovarian cancer awareness month. The majority of stage 1 cases can be successfully treated.


Read more: “I’m so sorry – I didn’t get it”: oncology nurse pens apology to her patients after own cancer diagnosis


Here’s some advice on when to seek help from your GP if you experience the symptoms mentioned above.

Images: iStock

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