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Residents encouraged to know the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

09 May 2024

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West Northants Public Health Team are encouraging women over the age of 18 to speak to their GP if they are experiencing any signs or symptoms of Ovarian Cancer to help diagnose and treat early. 

Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer among women in the UK with around 7,400 new cases diagnosed each year and it is getting more common in young people. Despite the numbers affected, many women are unaware of the symptoms, or the importance of early detection as the signs of Ovarian cancer can often be mistaken for other conditions. 

It is harder to diagnose than some other cancers, as the symptoms can be vague. The symptoms to look out for include persistent bloating, abdominal or pelvic pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and changes in bowel or urinary habits. If any of these symptoms are present for more than three weeks, advice should be requested from a GP as soon as possible. Your GP will discuss the symptoms, examine, and make a referral if they have any concerns. By detecting this condition at an early stage with a blood test and/or a scan, means treatment can be arranged sooner and will have a greater likelihood of being successful. 

Women with a family history of Ovarian cancer are at higher risk of developing the condition and, as a precaution, may be offered regular screening. 

“I strongly encourage all women to be aware and know the symptoms of Ovarian cancer. We know that Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage when treatment options are limited, and the outcome is poor, which is why we are keen to raise awareness of the symptoms. If you think you do have some of the symptoms and concerned, it is worth getting checked out- there is no such thing as wasting your doctor’s time. Speak to your GP and help them detect the disease early, when it is more treatable with a better chance of treatment success.”

Dr Annapurna Sen, Consultant in Health Protection for West Northamptonshire Council

For more information about Ovarian cancer and screening programmes, visit NHS Ovarian cancer.

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