Ovarian cancer: How to spot the symptoms early
Target Ovarian Cancer says it is the combination of symptoms and the pattern in which they appear that is important. Some signs such as persistent bloating and feeling full quickly when eating are particularly significant, especially if they happen frequently. This should alert women to go to their doctor and ask them to investigate.
Like most forms of the disease, ovarian cancer is highly curable if diagnosed at the earliest stage
2. If you feel something is seriously wrong then act early. After all, you know your own body. Talking to your GP about symptoms might save your life.
3. If you think you need an appointment be assertive. Don’t put it off.
4. If you need more time because you have a number of concerns you can book a double appointment with your GP. Remember telephone appointments may be available if you have a specific issue you would like to discuss.
5. Help your GP as much as possible, in advance of your appointment write down anything you want to discuss and if there is something specific such as ovarian cancer you are worried about, then mention it to your GP.
6. Keep a symptom diary if your symptoms persist. This can be useful not only for you but also when you see your GP.
7. If friends or family notice you are unwell or experiencing symptoms, act on their concerns and make an appointment with your GP, don’t dismiss their worries.
8. If your GP asks you to return if things haven’t improved, they really mean it.
9. If tests and investigations are negative and your symptoms persist, go back and see your GP – they are there to help.
10. A normal smear test only rules out cancer of the cervix and not other female cancers such as ovarian and uterine (womb). If you are worried about ovarian cancer then say so.
SIGNS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Symptoms of ovarian cancer are frequent (they usually happen more than 12 times a month) and persistent, and include:
• Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating
• Difficulty eating/feeling full
• Pelvic or abdominal pain
• Needing to wee more urgently or more often
Other symptoms can include unexpected weight loss, change in bowel habits, and extreme fatigue.
For more information on symptoms and tests visit www.targetovariancancer.org.uk