March is ovarian cancer awareness month. Did you know it’s the UK’s sixth most common cancer? Not only that, it’s the biggest gynaecological killer of women and people with ovaries in the United Kingdom. UK survival rates are sadly, among the worst in Europe. This is because three-quarters of diagnoses are made after cancer has spread, making it far more difficult to treat. It’s clear that awareness needs to be raised so that women can recognise the symptoms earlier, and seek advice sooner
What causes ovarian cancer?
Although the exact cause of ovarian cancer is still unknown, we do know that some risk factors make women more likely to develop this cancer. These include the number of eggs the ovaries release, whether you have a family history of ovarian or breast cancer and your age, the risk increases as you age (ovarian cancer is most common in women over 65).
If you have any of the following symptoms, we recommend you arrange to see your doctor:
- You feel full quickly and find eating difficult
- Suffer from boating that doesn’t come and go
- Pelvic or abdominal pain that can be felt most days
- You need to wee more often
In addition to the above other early signs of ovarian cancer include unexplained weight loss, fatigue and changes in bowel habits. If you are in any doubt or worried at all, always speak to your doctor. Early detection can significantly increases your chances of recovery, so we urge anyone experiencing symptoms to get checked out.
In many cases, treatment is possible and will depend on the following:
- The type of cancer you have and the size of the tumour
- If the cancer has spread
- Where the cancer is located
- You current health
Your doctor will be able to advise and recommend the right course of treatment for you. For further information and support, we can recommend contacting Ovarcome, the UK’s main ovarian cancer charity that is able to offer a range of advice and support. Please share this information with other women in your life and help raise awareness of the early signs and symptoms of this often-forgotten cancer.