Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women in the UK. It usually affects women who have reached menopause.*
Ovarian cancer occurs when cells within your ovaries divide and grow into a mass of abnormal cells (a tumour). Tumours can be benign which means they do not spread to other areas. Cancerous tumours often spread to nearby organs.
There is currently no regular ovarian cancer screening in the UK. Women who present with symptoms may have a blood test to look for increased levels CA125 protein, however raised levels of this protein can also indicate less serious conditions such as benign cysts, pregnancy, endometriosis, fibroids and pelvic inflammatory disease. An internal ultrasound scan may also be used for diagnosis.
What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?
- Persistent abdominal (stomach) pain
- Feeling bloated or increase in stomach size
- Eating difficulty - feeling full very quickly, loss of appetite
- Increased need to pass urine
- Change in bowel habits
- Feeling tired
- Unexplained weight loss
- Lower back pain
If you are concerned about any of these symptoms you should see your GP.
*Source - Macmillan cancer support