During February’s Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, we are urging women to remain ever vigilant, as ovarian cancer symptoms are vague and women often think they are caused by other conditions and may ignore them.
Our Cancer Prevention and Research Director, Melissa Ledger, said that women should pay attention to any symptoms that are unusual for you, new, persistent or troublesome.
“If you have any of the symptoms and they happen on most days for three weeks or more, particularly if you’re over 50 or have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, go to your doctor and get a check-up,” Ms Ledger said.
“You won’t be wasting the doctor’s time, and in most cases it won’t be anything to worry about, but if it is cancer and you find it early, your chances of successfully treating it are much greater.”
Because it’s difficult to detect in its early stages, there are more deaths from ovarian cancer in Australia than any other gynaecological cancer.
In 2017, there were 115 reported new cases of ovarian cancer and 94 deaths due to an ovarian cancer diagnosis.1 Ovarian cancer is most common in women over the age of 50.
Symptoms can include swollen lower tummy (abdomen) or bloating, feeling full quickly, pain in the tummy, needing to wee more often than usual, harder poo, loss of appetite, indigestion or nausea.
“More research is required to better understand the causes of ovarian cancer, but there are steps we can all take to reduce our overall risk of cancer, including quitting smoking, being SunSmart, maintaining a healthy body weight, being active, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, and if you drink alcohol, reducing how much you drink to reduce your cancer risk,” she said.