In the UK, 7,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year. Survival rates from ovarian cancer are low, only 46% of women survive the disease 5 years after they have been diagnosed. One of the key explanations for poor survival from ovarian cancer is late stage diagnosis. There is currently no national screening programme in place for ovarian cancer and the disease is often diagnosed with the patient presenting symptoms to their GP. Therefore, it’s really important that we understand the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer to increase the likelihood of getting an earlier diagnosis. The symptoms below will be frequent (i.e. will happen more than 12 times per month) and/or persistent and new (i.e. they are not normal for you and may have started in the last year).
- Persistent abdominal pain.
- Persistent abdominal bloating.
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly.
- Needing to pass urine more often than usual.
- Other symptoms including: changes in bowel habits, weight loss, post-menopausal bleeding and extreme fatigue.
Target Ovarian Cancer, the UK’s leading ovarian cancer charity has developed a ‘Symptoms Diary’ app to enable women to record their symptoms accurately and communicate more effectively with their GP. The app can be downloaded through their website, where many other useful resources can also be found.