20 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every day in the UK, of which 60% are diagnosed late.
Early detection makes it far easier to treat, but new research from Ovarian Cancer Canada has revealed that very few of us would be able to correctly identify some of the most common symptoms associated with the disease.
In fact, just 1% of the country’s population realises that frequent weeing is an early indicator of ovarian cancer.
Of course, many things could contribute to an increased need to go to the toilet, such as drinking more water, pregnancy or contracting a urine infection, so it’s unsurprising that such a mundane, everyday human function can go unnoticed.
However, Target Ovarian Cancer want women to become more aware of their bodies and monitor any changes closely.
These can include:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating
- difficulty eating/feeling full quickly
- needing to wee more urgently or more often
Other less common indicators of ovarian cancer include a change in bowel habits, extreme tiredness, unexplained weight loss and/or post-menopausal bleeding.
If you experience any of these symptoms frequently (for example, more than 12 times a month), then it is advised you make an appointment with your GP
Ovarian cancer has long been considered hard to detect, leading to it being labelled the ‘silent killer’: every year, there are approximately 4,100 deaths from ovarian cancer in the UK. Yet, despite being the fourth most common type of cancer in women – after breast, lung and bowel cancers – the average GP will see just one case of ovarian cancer every five years.
Target hopes that, by raising awareness of the common symptoms that women can spot themselves, sufferers will be more likely to get the help they need as quickly as possible. And, with early detection, the majority of stage one cases can be successfully treated.
Here’s some further advice on when to seek help from your GP if you experience the symptoms mentioned above.