Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Ovarian cancer: Do you know the symptoms?

Many women said they would wait more than a week before seeking medical help for ovarian cancer symptoms. Credit: PA

Nine in ten women do not know all the symptoms of ovarian cancer, with almost a third unable to name any, according to new research.

Yet each year in the UK 7,300 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, with 4,100 dying from the disease.

Of the 1,000 women polled by Ovarian Cancer Action, many said they would wait more than a week to seek medical help if they experienced a symptom of ovarian cancer, whereas 68% would seek help within a week if they noticed any signs of breast cancer.

Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer in women.

According to NHS Choices, symptoms of the disease include:

  • Feeling bloated most days for three weeks
  • Feeling full quickly or loss of appetite
  • Pelvic or stomach pain
  • Needing to urinate urgently or more frequently
  • Changes in bowel habit
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

Dr Christina Fotopoulou, surgeon and researcher at the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre, said: "Symptoms of ovarian cancer can be difficult to pinpoint and are often mistaken for symptoms of less serious conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

"If you're worried, speak to your GP."

Katherine Taylor, chief executive of Ovarian Cancer Action said: "We need to know and understand the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer so we can seek help and get treatment as soon as possible."

If you feel bloated most days over a three week period, or have any of the other symptoms listed above, the NHS advises making an appointment to visit your GP.

A healthy lifestyle can help protect against ovarian cancer, the NHS said, advising women to eat a healthy and balanced diet, exercise regularly, stop smoking, and cut down on alcohol intake.