Itâ€™s Ovarian cancer awareness month so here is some more information on a disease that affects 135 women a week:
- Â 4th most common female cancer with current 5 year survival rates at 43%
- Family history and age are the two biggest risk factors
- Signs/Symptoms include: Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating, Difficulty eating/feeling full, Pelvic or abdominal pain, Needing to wee more urgently or more often
GPs are now instructed to carry out tests (beginning with a CA125 blood test) in women especially over the age of 50, if they experience any of the above symptoms on a persistent or frequent basis, particularly more than 12 times a month. This should be followed by an abdominal/pelvic ultrasound if the blood tests are abnormal or symptoms persist.
If you regularly experience any of these symptoms, which are not normal for you, it is important that you see your GP. It is unlikely that your symptoms are caused by a serious problem, but it is important to be checked out.
Reducing the risk:
- The combined contraceptive pill is known to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer if taken for 10 years or more. However, you and your GP need to weigh up the benefits and other possible health risks of taking the combined contraceptive pill.
- Having children, and breastfeeding them: This reduces your chance of developing ovarian cancer but does not mean you will not develop it.
- A healthy lifestyle: A good diet and regular exercise can reduce your risk slightly, as obese women have a slightly increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.