How To Spot The Signs Of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is the 6th most common cancer in women in the world, and over 400 cases are diagnosed in Ireland annually.

Ovarian cancer is the 6th most common cancer in women and over 400 cases are diagnosed in Ireland annually.
As with most cancers, the earlier you catch it the better your recovery rate, but it’s not an easy one to spot, especially in the early stages.
Symptoms can be vague and some are even commonly associated with other conditions or illnesses, but it is important everyone is aware of the symptoms.
According to cancer.ie, there are seven signs of ovarian cancer that you need to keep an eye out for.
While many of the below symptoms can be caused by other complaints, it is important you get them checked out by your GP if you are worried in any way.
  • Bloated feeling
  • Persistent swollen abdomen
  • Pain or dragging in your lower abdomen or side
  • Vague indigestion or nausea
  • Poor appetite and feeling fully quickly
  • Changes in your bowel or bladder habits such as constipation or needing to pass water urgently
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge or bleeding
Symptoms can be frequent (more than 12 times a month), persistent or simply not normal to you. 
While ovarian cancer can, unfortunately, affect any woman of any age, there are a number of factors that increase your risk of developing it. 
According to Target Ovarian Cancer UK, age, family history, weight, use of HRT, endometriosis, smoking and diabetes are all risk factors. 
When it comes to age, women over 50 have a higher chance of developing it, with more than half of those over the age of 65 being diagnosed with it. However, women under the age of 50 can also develop the disease and therefore it is important that females of all ages are aware of symptoms. 
Family history accounts for around 15 - 20% of cases, mainly associated with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene. However, that does not mean that if your mum or females on either side of your family have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer that you will also develop it. You should, however, talk to your GP if two or more family members have been diagnosed. 
Weight and smoking are also factors, and it is believed that leading a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of developing it.
For more information on ovarian cancer, head over to Target Ovarian Cancer.
Written by Mary Byrne, Content Executive at Family Friendly HQ. Follow her on Twitter: @marybyrne321
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