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.
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.
What are the symptoms?
- Persistent bloating - not bloating that comes and goes
- 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.
- Frequent – they usually happen more than 12 times a month
- Persistent – they don’t go away
- New – they are not normal for you
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
- Track your symptoms using our free ovarian cancer Symptoms Diary.
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 Top ten tips for talking to your GP about ovarian cancer 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?
- If your symptoms are frequent and persistent your GP should order a CA125 blood test
- They may also order ultrasound scans of your tummy and ovaries
- 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 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.
"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 Line
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:
- call us on 020 7923 5475
- fill in our contact form to email us or request a call back
Raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer
Share the symptoms on social media
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.
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
Have you found this information useful?
Next review: June 2020