Stomach bloating: The four key signs you might have ovarian cancer

Broadcaster Sarah Green raises awareness for ovarian cancer

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The World Ovarian Cancer Coalition Every Woman Study found that nine in 10 females experienced multiple symptoms prior to diagnosis – irregardless of how big or small the tumour was. What’s your risk profile? Another key sign of ovarian cancer is “eating complications”; this includes struggling to eat and feeling full very quickly. This may, or may not, be accompanied by pain in the abdominal or pelvis area.

Urinary symptoms could also be common, such as needing to urinate more frequently.

Any of these four key signs of ovarian cancer need to be put on your GP’s radar.

Furthermore, there may be other bodily changes that warrant a doctor’s attention.

These too can be a sign of ovarian cancer:

  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

Do note that any post-menopausal bleeding should always be checked by your primary health care provider.

The menopause is defined as 12 consecutive months of no periods; any abnormal bleeding refers to any vaginal bleeding after this time.

What’s my risk profile?

“All women are at risk of ovarian cancer,” the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition put bluntly.

However, the disease is more common when women have surpassed the age of 50.

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Any family history of ovarian, breast, endometrial or colorectal cancer can increase a person’s risk of the disease.

In addition, the identification of the BRCA gene mutations is also risky.

Jewish women of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) background also have an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Other risk factors include:

  • Women who haven’t given birth
  • Women on hormone replacement therapy
  • Women with a history of endometriosis

According to Globocan’s 2020 projections, by 2040, the number of women around the world diagnosed with ovarian cancer will rise by almost 42 percent.

At present, ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer in women across the world.

Be aware that cervical screening – routinely done in the UK – does not detect ovarian cancer.

This is why it’s crucial to be aware of the symptoms and to make your doctor aware if you have concerns.

Diagnosing ovarian cancer before it spreads to other parts in the body makes it much more treatable.

The lethal disease kills 207,000 women each year, so it’s important to make sure your voice is heard if you have symptoms.

Tests for ovarian cancer can include a pelvic exam, ultrasound and CA-125 blood test.

“The only definitive way to determine if a patient has ovarian cancer is through a biopsy,” said the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition.

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