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08th May 2019

The four key symptoms of ovarian cancer you need to be aware of

Jade Hayden

ovarian cancer

“Late stage diagnosis and has led to the disease being known as the ‘silent killer.'”

Today is World Ovarian Cancer Day.

May 8 marks a day of awareness of the cancer symptoms that are often overlooked or confused with other illnesses.

Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common female cancer in Ireland, with four out of five cases diagnosed in women over 5o.

Approximately 411 people are diagnosed with the cancer in Ireland every year. 272 will die from the disease during that time.

Ireland has one of the highest rates of mortality in the world when it comes to ovarian cancer. This is primarily due to late stage diagnoses cause by a lack of awareness around symptoms.

The Marie Keating Foundation has urged women to be aware of the four key signs of ovarian cancer in order to BEAT the disease.

These symptoms are:

Bloating that is persistent and doesn’t come and go            

Eating less and feeling full more quickly

Abdominal and pelvic pain you feel most days

Toilet changes in urination or bowel habits

If any of the above symptoms persist for more than three weeks, it is recommended that you get checked out. Ovarian cancer is treatable, but early intervention – as with most forms of illnesses – is key.

Dr. Dearbhaile Collins, consultant medical oncologist at Cork University Hospital, says that women need to be aware of the changes happening in their own bodies and be able to tell when something isn’t right.

The symptoms of ovarian cancer can be confused with other illnesses,” she said. “However, the key difference is that these symptoms are persistent and do not come and go.”

“The BEAT campaign is encouraging women to be aware of changes in their stomach, pelvis and abdomen and to speak to a GP where they are concerned. Women with a family history of Ovarian or Breast Cancer should be particularly vigilant and mention this to their GP.”

“Symptoms can be similar to other conditions, which can lead to late stage diagnosis and has led to the disease being known as the ‘silent killer’,” continued Dr Sharon O’Toole, senior research fellow in Trinity College Dublin.

“While there have been many advances in the diagnosis and treatment of many other cancers, ovarian cancer has had little improvement in its prognosis over the last 20 years.”

The top risk factors of ovarian cancer include family history of the disease, hormone replacement therapy, tallness, smoking, and asbestos.

You can find out more about ovarian cancer here.