Study shows ignorance of deadly cancer

A new study has revealed widespread ignorance on the symptoms of ovarian cancer, and experts now fear that women across the UK could be living with undiagnosed ovarian cancer.

Women across the UK are being urged to check their family medical history, in light of a new study by Ovarian Cancer Action which shows widespread ignorance on the symptoms of ovarian cancer, one of the most deadly forms of cancer in women.

The study found that:

  • Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women, but less than a third of women would be able to identify any of the symptoms
  • The study revealed that a large proportion of women suffering from one of the four main symptoms of the cancer would not go to the doctor to check their symptoms
  • Almost two thirds of women with familial history of ovarian and/or breast cancer did not consult a GP after hearing the news.
  • Three quarters of women who said they'd been tested for Ovarian cancer said this was via a smear test - but smear tests don't cover for ovarian cancer.

"Ovarian cancer is still the most deadly gynaecological cancer - with 7,000 new UK diagnoses each year. Ovarian cancer has long shaken off its title as `the silent killer'. Experts insist there are symptoms - and both women and health professionals need to be more vigilant in spotting them quickly.

"Most women in the UK are not diagnosed until it has already spread, resulting in poor survival rates. Many doctors mistake ovarian cancer for Irritable Bowel Syndrome - but there is a difference. Ovarian cancer symptoms are frequent and persistent whilst IBS symptoms come and go."

– Gilda Witte, CEO of Ovarian Cancer Action

"We are now urging doctors, particularly when dealing with older women, to rule out ovarian cancer first - before considering more minor ailments like gallstones and irritable bowel, as the earlier that you are diagnosed, the better your outcome will be.

"Women know their bodies and know when something is wrong. If you are suffering from any of the symptoms - whether it's persistent bloating, pelvic pain or needing to pee more often - don't wait for it to go away or to get any worse."

– Gilda Witte, CEO of Ovarian Cancer Action