Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. About 20 women a day are diagnosed with cancer of the ovary (ovarian cancer) in the UK. That is about 7,000 a year.
What is ovarian cancer?
The ovaries are two small, oval-shaped organs in the pelvis. Ovarian cancer can affect women, trans men and people assigned female at birth. Trans women do not have ovaries. It is important to talk to your GP or nurse if you are worried about ovarian cancer or have symptoms. The most common cancer to start in the ovary is called epithelial cancer.
The different types of epithelial cancer are:
- clear cell
High-grade serous cancer is the most common type.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer
Symptoms of ovarian cancer are often similar to other conditions. Find out when your GP should offer you cancer tests. Ovarian cancer often causes symptoms that are similar to other more common and less serious conditions.
This can make it difficult to diagnose early, before the cancer has spread.
If you have any of these symptoms for no reason, or you get these symptoms regularly (especially more than 12 times a month), your GP should offer you cancer tests:
- a long-lasting bloated or swollen tummy
- loss of appetite
- feeling full quickly when you eat
- pain in the lower tummy area or back
- passing urine more often than usual
- passing urine more urgently (feeling like you can’t hold on).
Other ovarian cancer symptoms may include:
- a change in your normal bowel habit (diarrhoea or constipation)
- weight gain or weight loss
- unexplained or extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- vaginal bleeding after your menopause.
If you are 50 years or older and develop symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for the first time, you should also have tests. IBS can cause bloating and changes in bowel habit, but it does not usually start after the age of 50.
Call the Macmillan Support Line on: 0808 808 00 00.