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The Majority of Women Do Not Recognize Key Ovarian Cancer Symptoms, Says Charity

According to a charity, most women don’t know that bloating is a crucial symptom of ovarian cancer, and doctors are often quick to ignore the signs. According to a survey for 1000 women for Target Ovarian Cancer, 79 percent of women do not know bloating is a symptom. On the other hand, 68 percent were not aware abdominal pain is a sign, and nine percent were unaware feeling full is another.

Ninety-nine percent of women did not know that needing more urgently to pee is also a sign. At the same time, evidence suggests women can often be told their symptoms could be related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). According to the survey, 40 percent of women incorrectly believed that they could detect ovarian cancer by screening for cervical cancer. Around a third of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer die within the first year of diagnosis. Every year, around 7,500 new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the UK.

Target Ovarian Cancer CEO Annwen Jones said: “These figures are extremely disappointing. We know that thousands of Target Ovarian Cancer campaigners have worked tirelessly over the past decade, but that’s not enough. Everyone needs to learn about symptoms. Government support for sustained and large-scale symptom campaigns is necessary. There is hope for progress. As a result, fewer people will be diagnosed late, fewer will need invasive treatment, and, ultimately, fewer will die needlessly from ovarian cancer.”

In 2021, Katy Stephenson, 47, from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, was diagnosed with early-stage ovarian cancer. She said that I had been experiencing symptoms like bloating and needing to pee more frequently for a few months but had put them down to being peri-menopausal. My appendicitis diagnosis was a fluke when I was hospitalized. Cancer probably would have spread if that hadn’t happened, and I hate to think what would have happened. Initially, I was told I wouldn’t have symptoms in the early stages of ovarian cancer, but I did. I strongly advise everyone to be aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer. You are the only one who can catch them, so keep an eye on your body, speak to your GP, and do not be afraid to mention ovarian cancer if you are concerned.

Doctor Victoria Barber, a GP in Northamptonshire and a leading advocate of early ovarian cancer diagnosis, said symptoms appear early on in ovarian cancer. So let your doctor know about any you are experiencing, if they are new to you and if they do not resolve. Furthermore, GPs must have a thorough understanding of ovarian cancer and advice patients who have concerns. The Target Ovarian Cancer GP education program can help you with this.

March is an ovarian cancer awareness month. Women are urged to sign open letters to the Government by visiting targetovariancancer.org.uk during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

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