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Just one in five women in the UK are able to name bloating as a symptom of ovarian cancer. We want to change this. Take a look at how to recognise the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Two thirds of women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer once it has already spread. It's time to TAKE OVAR. Join us this March to Start Making Noise to raise money and awareness. Together, we can make sure every woman has the best change of survival.

What are the symptoms?​

  • Persistent bloating - not bloating that comes and goes

    Nicola's story

    Ovarian cancer wasn’t on my mind; the symptoms that made me go to the doctor were bloating and weight gain.

  • Feeling full quickly and/or loss of appetite
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain (that's your tummy and below)
  • Urinary symptoms (needing to wee more urgently or more often than usual)

Occasionally there can be other symptoms:

  • Changes in bowel habit (eg diarrhoea or constipation)
  • Extreme fatigue (feeling very tired)
  • Unexplained weight loss

Any bleeding after the menopause should always be investigated by a GP.

Symptoms will be:

  • Frequent – they usually happen more than 12 times a month
  • Persistent – they don’t go away
  • New – they are not normal for you 

Download our  to find out more (available in more languages).

Worried about your symptoms?

If you regularly experience any one or more of these symptoms, which are not normal for you, it is important that you see your GP. It is unlikely that your symptoms are caused by a serious problem, but it is important to get checked out. 

Prepare for your GP appointment

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. 

  • Find out about your family history. Tell your GP if two or more relatives in your close family have had ovarian or breast cancer. Read more about family history and hereditary ovarian cancer. 
  • Use our 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

What tests might your GP do?

Find out more about how ovarian cancer is diagnosed. 

What next?

  • Ask your GP what the next steps are
  • Be persistent! Return to the GP or seek a second opinion within a couple of weeks if your symptoms don't go away

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  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.

"My message is, go and see your GP as soon as you think something is wrong and don't take no for an answer." Maureen, Inverness. Watch Maureen's story. 

"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. 

Contact our Support LineOur Nurse Adviser

Our nurse-led Support Line provides confidential information, support and signposting for anyone concerned about ovarian cancer symptoms. 

The Support Line is open from 9am until 5.30pm, Monday to Friday:

Raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer

March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, raise awareness and shout loud about the symptoms so that every woman has the chance of being diagnosed at the earliest stage. Order your materials today.

Share the symptoms on social media

The symptoms of ovarian cancer


Find out more

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Last reviewed: July 2017
Next review: June 2020