GP Vicki Barber reveals four reasons why knowing the symptoms of ovarian cancer should be a top priority for women.
1.Women just don’t know them
Our research shows that four out of five women in the UK cannot name one of the major symptoms of ovarian cancer - bloating. This is incredibly worrying. Could you name one?
The four main symptoms of ovarian cancer are
- Bloated tummy
- Always feeling full
- Tummy pain
- Needing to wee more
If you experience any of these symptoms regularly and they are new to you it’s important to see your GP.
The research also tells us that 41 per cent of women visit their GP three times or more before they were diagnosed with the disease – and we are working with GPs across the UK to help them access our education modules so they find out more about spotting ovarian cancer.
2.Know the symptoms = get diagnosed earlier
If you know your body and are symptoms savvy, you are more likely to go and get checked out by a doctor sooner. If ovarian cancer is diagnosed early, treatment can be easier and more successful. And when a woman is diagnosed at the earliest stage her chance of surviving ovarian cancer for five years or more doubles from just 46 per cent to more than 90 per cent.
3.Feel more confident to visit your GP if something is wrong
Don't be shy! The symptoms of ovarian cancer can be vague or confused with IBS. Being aware of what to look out for means you can talk to your GP about your worries as soon as you notice something – and keep a symptoms diary if you need to. Our 10 top tips for talking to your GP can help.
4.Tell your friends and save lives
Every day, 11 women die from ovarian cancer in the UK. Being aware of the symptoms, talking to a GP if you’re worried can all mean that women are diagnosed earlier, saving lives.
Laura from East Sussex found out she had ovarian cancer after seeing a friend’s Facebook post:
“I first realised I could have cancer when I saw a post on Facebook. A friend had shared it. There was a list of symptoms and I was shocked to realise that I had them all.”
Find out more
- Start Making Noise this Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month to make sure everyone you know recognises the symptoms of ovarian cancer
- Read more about the symptoms of ovarian cancer
- Donate and help us reach more GPs and women with our symptoms awareness drive