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Daily Record
Daily Record
Ella Pickover & Ketsuda Phoutinane

Ovarian cancer charity shares little-known symptoms to look for to raise awareness

Ovarian cancer charity campaigners have called for urgent action to raise awareness of the disease's symptoms.

Just 3% of women are confident in naming all of the symptoms of the disease, reported Target Ovarian Cancer. It warned low awareness rates mean that women may not be able to spot when something is awry and may delay seeking help from a GP.

The four main symptoms are:

  • persistent bloating
  • pelvic or abdominal pain
  • feeling full or a loss of appetite
  • an increased need to urinate

Just one in five were able to identify bloating as a sign, according to the poll of 1,000 women across the UK.

Only 1% were able to identify increased urinary urgency or frequency as a symptom and just 3% knew feeling full or a loss of appetite could be a sign of ovarian cancer.

But almost a third (32%) knew that pelvic or abdominal pain was a symptom.

Meanwhile, the charity said that 40% believe that cervical screening detects cases of ovarian cancer – when this screening is only able to check the health of a woman's cervix.

One in five women were able to identify bloating as a sign of ovarian cancer (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

"We must urgently go further to raise awareness, with sustained government-funded national awareness campaigns that highlight the symptoms of ovarian cancer in every nation of the UK," the report authors wrote.

The new report also calls for more awareness among medics after it found that over a quarter of 447 women with ovarian cancer made three or more visits to their GP before being referred for tests.

The authors also said that there needs to be investment in the clinical nurse specialist workforce and better mental health support for patients.

Annwen Jones, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said: "Ovarian cancer is not going away. We can change the course of this disease."

Ovarian cancer symptoms

According to the NHS, signs of ovarian cancer include frequently (roughly 12 or more times a month) having:

  • A swollen tummy or feeling bloated
  • Pain or tenderness in your tummy or the area between the hips (pelvis)
  • No appetite or feeling full quickly after eating
  • An urgent need to pee or needing to pee more often

Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:

  • Indigestion
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Back pain
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Bleeding from the vagina after the menopause

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