Question asked by: 
Date asked: 
Dec 2015

I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation and 12 years ago had a bilateral mastectomy, oophorectomy and hysterectomy for preventative reasons.  I went to my GPs 3 weeks ago with severe back pain and pains in the tops of my legs and groin and he prescribed naproxen and I had an X-ray on my lower back and pelvis last week, after the results of a blood test showed raised ESR levels.

When he first examined me he also said I was constipated and advised laxatives.  Since then my back has got considerably better but he says to carry on with the anti-inflammatory drugs until the results of the X-ray are in.

I now have a bloated painful tummy and painful constipation.  So much so, that I have been straining on the toilet and also have piles!  I'm not sure if perhaps the naproxen could be the cause of my tummy discomfort but I’m worried about the symptoms of ovarian cancer too. I remember when I had my ops that I was told I could still get ovarian cancer even though they have been removed, in the tissue around where they had sat.  Is this the case and should I be concerned?

Could my bloated tummy and constipation be the symptoms of ovarian cancer, even though I have had a bilateral mastectomy, oophorectomy and hysterectomy?
Speak to your GP about your symptoms and your BRCA1 status
Response by Dr Alexandra Murray, Consultant Clinical Geneticist

I wouldn’t usually expect naproxen to cause bloating or constipation but as it’s a NSAID (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), you might expect to get some heartburn or indigestion type symptoms.

We would advise you to go to your GP and discuss your symptoms and BRCA1 status. It's worth asking for the diagnostic tests for ovarian cancer which are a CA125 test and a pelvic ultrasound test.  Whilst the surgery has considerably reduced your risk of ovarian cancer, there is still a small chance that a microscopic cell will be remaining so better to rule it out.