Do you know the signs to look out for?
The four main symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
- Persistent stomach pain
- Persistent bloating or increased stomach size
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- Needing to wee more frequently
Occasional other symptoms may include:
- Changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea or constipation)
- Back pain
The key features of the symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
- Their persistency – they don’t go away
- Their frequency – they occur on most days
- They are new – they started in the last 12 months
- They are unusual – they are not normal for you
- Similar to IBS – but ovarian cancer symptoms are distinctive because they’re frequent and persistent; whilst IBS symptoms come and go
If you have any of the symptoms of ovarian cancer you should visit your GP to carry out further tests. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are similar to the symptoms of a number of non serious conditions so try not to worry as it could be nothing serious but we recommend that your GP rules out ovarian cancer first.
Before making an appointment to see your GP, you may find it useful to use a symptom diary which you will find here.
It allows you to track your symptoms over a four week period so that you have a record of how persistent and frequent your symptoms are and if they are getting worse. This will help your GP by providing her/him with detailed information about your symptoms – which can help in understanding what could be causing your symptoms.
Once you’ve completed the diary, make an appointment with your GP and take the diary with you. It’s also a good idea to make a list of all your concerns before going to your appointment to ensure you cover everything when you speak to your GP.
When at the appointment:
- Inform your GP clearly about your concern of the possibility of ovarian cancer
- With the support of the symptoms diary describe your symptoms in as much detail as possible including when you first recognised the symptoms, if they have worsened, how often you experience them and how severe they are
- If anyone in your family has had ovarian or breast cancer mention this to your GP
- If she/he doesn’t suggest it, ask your GP to conduct a CA125 blood test and an internal ultrasound if your CA125 blood level is raised
- If you feel your GP has not listened to your concerns do seek advice from another GP until you feel appropriate action has been taken
If you require any further information or advice, visit: http://www.ovarian.org.uk/
If you need further advice on how to educate your employees in ovarian cancer, contact us!
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