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25th Jun 2023

Cancer charity shares the hidden symptoms of ovarian cancer we might be missing

They are hoping that everyone will know the symptoms.

A charity in the UK has issued a warning as more people with ovaries are ignoring the signs of ovarian cancer despite more awareness being made around the illness.

The charity Target Ovarian Cancer has been looking into how some of the symptoms continue to go undetected by patients and GPs alike.

Their latest data has suggested that one of the key symptoms of ovarian cancer is too low and only one in five people knows that bloating is actually a symptom.

Two-thirds of people surveyed knew that stomach pain was a symptom, but “hardly anyone” knew that feeling full very quickly or needing to pee more was also a symptom.

The survey also found that 40% of women think that a smear test can detect ovarian cancer, which it cannot, with Annwen Jones OBE, the Chief Executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, explaining to Glamour: “These figures are incredibly disappointing. We know we’ve shifted the dial in the past 10 years, through the dedication of thousands of Target Ovarian Cancer’s campaigners. But it is not enough.

“Knowing the symptoms is crucial for everyone. We need to make sustained and large-scale government-backed symptoms campaigns a reality.”

So what are the symptoms we need to look out for?

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)

Other symptoms may include:

Changes in bowel habit (eg diarrhoea or constipation)
Extreme fatigue (feeling very tired)
Unexplained weight loss
Any bleeding after menopause should always be investigated by a GP

Target Ovarian Cancer also said that symptoms will be frequent, meaning it happens more than 12 times a month, and they are persistent and new.

If you are concerned about any symptoms you may be experiencing, it is advised to visit your GP and have it looked at.