05 March 2018
Don’t suffer in silence!
That is the warning being given out as part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month that runs throughout March.
It is the fourth most common cancer amongst women in the UK with more than 7,000 women diagnosed each year and 4,300 deaths annually* yet early detection can lead to successful treatment for many sufferers.
But because symptoms are not well known or often mistaken for ‘tummy troubles’, irritable bowel syndrome or period pains, it is usually discovered in the late stages when successful treatment is much more difficult.
Miss Esther Moss, a Consultant Gynaecologist and Gynae-oncologist at Spire Leicester Hospital, said:
“Unfortunately ovarian cancer is difficult to identify in its early stages. The symptoms are often subtle or intermittent and so can get overlooked. This can contribute to GPs sometimes not identifying ovarian cancer immediately or suspecting other more common conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome as the problem.”
Now Ovarian Cancer charities are urging women to be constantly on the lookout for possible symptoms – and to act on them sooner rather than later.
“When women are diagnosed in the early stages of ovarian cancer they have a 90% chance of surviving for more than five years but this reduces to even less than 40% when diagnosed in the later stages so it is important they know what symptoms to look for and that they make their GP aware of those symptoms as soon as possible.
“My advice to any woman who are experiencing any of these symptoms is to keep a symptom diary and then go to their GP to discuss the matter thoroughly. Women must feel confident that when they visit their GP with any of the symptoms mentioned above they will be examined with the possibility of ovarian cancer in mind.” said Miss Moss.
The four main symptoms to look out for are:
- Persistent bloating or increased stomach size
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- Needing to urinate more frequently
- Persistent stomach pain
*Figures from Cancer Research UK