Sadly, ovarian cancer is the biggest gynaecological killer in the United Kingdom, with UK survival rates among the worst in Europe.
Two thirds of people are diagnosed with ovarian cancer after it has spread outside of the ovary. This then makes the cancer is harder to treat. Every day 11 people die in the UK from ovarian cancer.
This is why awareness is so important – March, in particular, is a time to campaign and speak out for further funding and research into ovarian cancer, helping to improve survival rates and the quality of life for those suffering with ovarian cancer.
About 20 people a day are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK – that’s 7,000 each year.
Sister Julie Thomas, Oncology Nurse Specialist at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “There are several different types of ovarian cancer. What we know is that cancer of the ovary causes symptoms which can be similar to less serious conditions. This can be confusing. The earlier ovarian cancer is diagnosed, the better the outcome will be.”
If you have any of the following symptoms regularly (especially more than 12 times per month) you should see your GP as soon as possible for investigations.
- Bloated/swollen tummy
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling full quickly
- Pain in tummy
- Passing urine more often and not able to hold on
- A change in your normal bowel habit constipation/diarrhoea
- Quick weight loss/weight gain
- Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- Vaginal bleeding after the menopause
Julie added: “Often these symptoms are not cancer related and can be investigated by your GP without referral to hospital.
“If we diagnose ovarian cancer early then overall survival rates are much improved.”
You can find out more about how to get involved in Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, as well as read the personal stories of women living with and beyond an ovarian cancer diagnosis, at www.ovarian.org.uk/march-ovarian-cancer-awareness-month/.
For more information visit:-
www.macmillan.org.uk and type in ovarian cancer
www.ovacome.org.uk and type in information booklet – signs and symptoms ovarian cancer.