Specialist Gynaecology Nurses at the Trust are urging women to talk openly about ovarian cancer, understand the potential symptoms and to book potentially life-saving GP check-ups, in an effort to save more lives this Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Ovarian cancer is when abnormal cells in the ovary begin to grow and divide in an uncontrolled way, and eventually form a growth (tumour). If not caught early cancer cells gradually grow into the surrounding tissues and may spread to other areas of the body. Ovarian cancer affects approximately 7,000 women each year in the UK. It appears more often in women over 45 and after the menopause.
Maggie Barrett, Gynaecology Clinical Nurse Specialist said: “Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity for us ladies to unite and stand up to this disease and become aware of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. Many women mistakenly believe cervical screening will pick ovarian cancer and this is not the case. They need to be more aware of the symptoms and encourage women to go get these checked as soon as possible by their GP – early detection can make a significant difference.”
The sooner ovarian cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat. Recovery can be up to 90 per cent for women in the UK diagnosed at an early stage.”
Maggie Barrett added: “We see so many ladies come through our doors who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer at a late stage when it is harder to treat. We really need to reverse this trend, ensuring all women know the early signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer.”
“Symptoms to look out for include an increased abdominal size or bloating, feeling full quickly, unexplained abdominal or pelvic pain that doesn’t go away, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss. We urge all ladies who have experienced any of these symptoms for the last three weeks to speak to their GP today, chances are it will be nothing serious, but it’s always better to get it checked out.”
The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
- Persistent bloating of the abdomen
- Difficulty eating and feeling full quickly
- Persistent abdominal and pelvic pain
- Needing to pass urine more frequently
Other symptoms can include:
- Changes in your bowel movements and habits
- Extreme tiredness or fatigue
- Vaginal bleeding