Our grateful thanks to Target Ovarian Cancer for their contribution to our radio report which you can hear again at the bottom of this page.
Ovarian cancer. Across the UK 1 in 50 women will receive a diagnosis of ovarian cancer at some point in their life, equivalent to 7400 per year, At present there are around 41,000 women across the UK living with ovarian cancer. It mainly affects women over the age of 50 but 1 in 10 cases occur in the under 45’s.
There isn’t just one ovarian cancer; there are many different types that occur at different stages of life. Researchers have identified more than 30 types.
If diagnosed and treated early 9 out of 10 women will survive – sadly, only an estimated 20 percent of ovarian cancer is diagnosed early enough for treatment to prevent the spread of the disease. New treatments developed over the past 10-15 years offer new hope for the ovarian cancer community – but early diagnosis is still key.
Studies have shown that awareness of the ovarian cancer is low, a pre pandemic study suggested only 1 in 6 (16%) of women are aware of ovarian cancer, 2/3 of women (66%) questioned of a representative sample of the UK were not able to cite any symptoms of ovarian cancer or knew what the symptoms were - almost two thirds of women questioned did not not know or were able to mention any risk factors associated with ovarian cancer. The same study revealed widespread confusion between ovarian and cervical cancer, with 45% of women mistakenly believing that a smear test will tell them whether or not they have Ovarian cancer, and over 1/3 (34%) mistakenly believed that the more sexual partners a woman has, the more at risk she is of developing ovarian cancer.
Awareness can save lives. Recent research has shown that almost all women do experience symptoms, particularly very frequent, persistent and sudden onset ones, even in the early stages of ovarian cancer. (For more detailed information help and support click here to visit Target Ovarian Cancer)
Risk factors: There are a number of factors which can affect your risk of getting ovarian cancer:
Diagnosis can be difficult because symptoms are often similar to those caused by more common, less serious conditions.
Occasionally there can be other symptoms:
Symptoms will be:
Worried about your symptoms?
If you regularly experience any one or more of these symptoms, which aren't normal for you, it's important that you book an appointment with your GP. It's unlikely that your symptoms are caused by a serious problem, but it's important to get checked out. Target Ovarian Cancer provide top tips on speaking to your GP click here to access.
Ovarian cysts in pre-menopausal women can produce symptoms similar to those for ovarian cancer but they aren't known to increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
Other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have symptoms similar to ovarian cancer but if your symptoms don't clear up, go back to your GP or seek a second opinion, even if you've had tests.
Listen to this weeks radio report
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