Make some noise about ovarian cancer symptoms

12 March 2018

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’ or period pains, it is usually discovered in the late stages when successful treatment is much more difficult.

Mr Jaf Abu, a Consultant Gynaecologist and Gynae-oncologist at Spire Nottingham Hospital in Tollerton, said: “Far too many women are dismissing the symptoms for too long before going to see their GP.
“Unfortunately there is not always a specific symptom and the symptoms could be subtle so it is difficult to spot. This can contribute to GPs sometimes suspecting 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 suffering from any of these symptoms is to go to their GP and 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 Mr Abu.

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

Mr Jaf Abu is a Consultant Gynaecologist and Gynae-oncologist practising at Spire Nottingham Hospital.

For more information on any of the treatments in this article or for an appointment at Spire Nottingham Hospital call 0115 937 7801 or email


The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

*Figures from Cancer Research UK

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