You hear people talk about breast cancer all the time and you probably hear people chatting about cervical screening from time to time too. But to be totally honest, ovarian cancer is something that I for one didn’t know anything about. (hangs head in shame)
We’re just about coming to the end of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, but it’s never too late to get clued up. So here’s what you need to know…
Ovarian cancer is actually one of the most common types of cancer in women.
If you have two or more close relatives (mum, sister etc.) who have had ovarian or breast cancer, your risk of also developing the condition may be increased, especially if your relatives developed cancer before the age of 50.
Sadly, ovarian cancer has the worst outcomes of all the gynaecological cancers.
Why? The symptoms are sneaky and easily confused with other things. Three quarters of women are diagnosed once the cancer has already spread, making treatment more difficult.
Make sure you’re always on the lookout for…
• A change in bowel habits (diarrhoea and constipation)
• Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes)
• Difficulty eating/feeling full
• Pelvic or abdominal pain
• Needing to wee more urgently or more often
• Unexpected weight loss
• Extreme tiredness
You can see how the symptoms could be innocently mistaken for something else, like irritable bowel syndrome. Just remember, if the symptoms increase in frequency and persist, see your GP.
To support Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, the charity Eve Appeal has put together some short videos on common symptoms, hereditary risks and tips for talking to your GP. Watch them at www.eveappeal.org.uk when you get chance! (*cough* RIGHT NOW)
So I’ve done the hard work and told you what need to know, here’s what you can do for us…
Start conversations about ovarian cancer with your friends and family. Spread your newfound wisdom far and wide. Search #OvarianCancerAwarenessMonth or #OCAM and share those important messages from your social media accounts.
The earlier ovarian cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the chance of a cure.
Over to you…