Only three per cent of women in the UK feel very confident about naming an ovarian cancer symptom. We want to change this. Take a look at how to recognise the symptoms of ovarian cancer.
What are the symptoms?
- Persistent pelvic or abdominal pain (that’s your tummy and below)
- Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating – not bloating that comes and goes
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- Needing to wee more urgently or more often than usual
Occasionally there can be other symptoms such as changes in bowel habits, extreme fatigue (feeling very tired), unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite. Any post-menopausal bleeding should always be investigated by a GP.
- Frequent – they usually happen more than 12 times a month
- Persistent – they don’t go away
- New – they are not normal for you and may have started in the last year
If you regularly experience any of these symptoms – and they are not normal for you – visit your GP. It is unlikely that your symptoms are caused by a serious problem, but it is important to get checked out. Download our symptoms leaflet to find out more (available in more languages). You can also order symptoms leaflets for yourself or to raise awareness.
"I took this thought home with me. Please listen to what your body is trying to tell you. Never ever be afraid to start the ball rolling by going to your GP. It could be too late to conquer it. Don't wait. Too many loved ones too many friends need you. You are special." Moira, Warrington
A bloated tummy, needing to wee more, tummy pain, and always feeling full could all be symptoms of ovarian cancer. Our ovarian cancer Symptoms Diary app is an easy way to accurately record your symptoms and communicate more effectively with your GP. You can also download a print version of the Symptoms Diary.
Watch our symptoms video
We asked women with ovarian cancer to talk to us about their experience of ovarian cancer symptoms. Find out what they said in this video.
Worried about your symptoms?
Know what's normal for you and keep a diary, noting down which days you get each symptom, and how bad you perceive them to be. Also note down if you think the symptoms are gradually getting worse, or if they are stopping you from doing an activity that you would normally be involved in. You can use this to give your GP detailed information.
- Talk to your GP about frequent symptoms that are new for you.
- Use our 10 top tips leaflet to support you and your GP in communicating more effectively with each other about the symptoms of ovarian cancer (produced in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support).
- Tell your GP if two or more relatives in your close family have had ovarian or breast 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. Take this information, or our Target Ovarian Cancer symptoms leaflet with you to help you explain (also available in other languages). If you'd like to order symptoms leaflets by post, please visit our materials order form.
Find out more
- Read about how ovarian cancer is diagnosed
- 10 Top Tips for visiting your GP
- What is ovarian cancer?
- Help raise awareness of symptoms
Next review: 2017