AS one of the deadliest cancers for women – chances are you know what ovarian cancer is.
But can you name any symptoms?
By charity Ovarian cancer is a target only 3% of women can confidently name all symptoms disease.
He called for urgent action to raise awareness of the symptoms of the deadly disease.
Ovarian cancer affects about 7,000 women each year, making it one of the most common cancers in women.
Sadly, around 4,100 people die from ovarian cancer in the UK each year, that’s 11 every day.
Four main symptoms are persistent bloating; pain in the pelvis or abdomen; feeling full or loss of appetite and increased need to pee.
He warned that low awareness means women may not notice when something is wrong and may delay seeking help until GP.
According to a survey of 1,000 women across the UK, only one in five could identify this as a sign of bloating.
Only 1 percent could identify an increased urge to urinate or urinary frequency as a symptom, and only 3 percent knew that feeling full or losing appetite could be a sign of ovarian cancer.
But almost a third (32 percent) knew that pelvic or abdominal pain was a symptom.
Meanwhile, the charity said 40 per cent believe cervical screening detects cases of ovarian cancer – when the screening can only check the health of a woman’s cervix.
“We urgently need to go further to raise awareness by continuing government-funded national awareness campaigns highlighting the symptoms of ovarian cancer in every country in the UK,” the report’s authors write.
The new report also calls for increased awareness among GPs after it found that more than a quarter of 447 women with ovarian cancer visited their GP three or more times before being referred for tests.
The authors also said that investment in nursing staff and better mental health support for patients is needed.
Annwen Jones, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said: “Ovarian cancer is not going away. We can change the course of this disease.”
How is ovarian cancer treated?
Treatment of ovarian cancer depends on the type and extent of its spread.
- Surgery – This is done to remove cancer cells from the body. Often this may involve removing both ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus.
- Chemotherapy – This is often done after surgery to destroy the remaining cells with medication. It can sometimes be used as a method to shrink the cancer before surgery.
If the cancer has spread too far throughout the body, the goal of treatment will be to reduce symptoms and control the cancer as much as possible.
Is there a blood test for ovarian cancer?
If you have any symptoms of ovarian cancer, you should see your GP.
Your doctor may then ask about your symptoms, feel your abdomen for lumps, do an internal exam, or ask about any family history of ovarian cancer.
They may also take a blood sample, which is then sent for tests to determine the level of a substance called CA125.
High levels of this substance, which is produced by some ovarian cancer cells, can be an indicator of ovarian cancer, but it can also indicate something less serious, such as fibroids or pregnancy.
If you have high levels, you may be asked to have an ultrasound to determine the cause.
Further tests may be done in hospital, including a CT scan, X-rays or a needle biopsy, in which cells are taken from the ovaries.
Who is most at risk for ovarian cancer?
A number of things can increase your risk of ovarian cancer, including:
- Age – Women over 50 have a higher risk
- Family history – if you have a family history of ovarian or breast cancer, you may have inherited genes that make you more at risk
- Weight – If you are overweight, you may be more susceptible
- Diseases – If you have endometriosis, when tissue that behaves like the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, it can increase your chance. If you have had hormone replacement therapy (HRT), there is a very small chance that this may increase your risk.