Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Ovarian Cancer - What to look for

March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Ovacome, the ovarian cancer support network has teamed up with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in an effort to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and the importance of early diagnosis.

I hadn't appreciated that 6500 women are diagnosed every year with ovarian cancer. Because it is hard to detect and diagnose, in 75% of cases the cancer has spread by the time it is diagnosed.

Ovarian cancer is hard to detect because its signs and symptoms are similar to other more common and less serious conditions such as IBS.

The three most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
  • Bloating of the abdomen which does NOT come and go
  • Eating less and feeling fuller
  • Abdominal and pelvic pain most days
  • Tell your GP
These symptoms form the basis of the ovarian cancer BEAT campaign. In addition, some women may also experience
  • urinary frequency or urgency
  • changes in bowel habits
  • extreme fatigue
  • unexplained weight loss
Women over 50 who have not had children are most at risk, as are those using HRT and those with a family history of ovarian or breast cancer.

Many women have not heard of ovarian cancer or believe it can be detected during a cervical smear. It can't and in fact there is no screening programme for ovarian cancer.
However, weith early detection, it can be treated with very good outcomes.

If you are worried at all about your symptoms or want more information about ovarianc cancer and its early detection, consider asking your pharmacist for advice, speak to your doctor or contact the Ovacome support line on 0845 371 0554

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