Nonetheless, if you’re experiencing symptoms of ovarian cancer it’s still important to get them checked out by your doctor. Early diagnosis can improve survival rates, and there are a number of signs to be aware of. Some of these you may notice when you take a trip to the toilet.
Mr Saurabh Phadnis, Consultant Gynaecologist and Gynaecological Oncologist at London Gynaecology, has outlined several symptoms to be aware of.
The expert noted: “Ovarian cancer is notorious for causing very minimal symptoms in the early stages. Hence high index of suspicion and being aware of symptoms is important.”
He said ovarian cancer commonly occurs after menopause and symptoms can be non-specific such as bloating and the new onset of abdominal and pelvic pain that you feel most days.
Some people also report feelings of nausea and fullness, and loss of appetite and weight.
There are also some signs you might notice when you go to the toilet. These can surround urinary frequency and changes in bowel habits.
Mr Phadnis said: “Because these symptoms are so non-specific, being aware and alert to changes in the body is essential.
“If you have any of these symptoms that are persistent you should seek immediate medical help with your GP.”
There are also some uncommon symptoms of ovarian cancer which you may notice. These include persistent vaginal discharge, unusual or erratic vaginal bleeding, or rectal bleeding.
The expert added that some people may notice a lump in the groin or neck, which are enlarged lymph glands, or have a persistent cough or shortness of breath.
Ultimately, Mr Phadnis said “it is important to be familiar with what is normal for you”.
So, if there is something unusual or out of the ordinary, it is best to seek some advice from your GP.
It is best to go as soon as possible because early diagnosis significantly increases the prognosis.
The NHS says bloating and a persistent feeling of fullness are key symptoms of ovarian cancer.
It says you should see a GP if you have been feeling bloated, particularly more than 12 times a month.
You’re more at risk of ovarian cancer if you’re over the age of 50, with a massive 84 percent of ovarian cancer cases being diagnosed in women over this age.
Nonetheless, you’re not too young to have ovarian cancer, and any symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your GP as soon as possible.
Another risk factor is if you have the BRCA1/2 gene mutation, which increases the chance of ovarian cancer by 60 percent.
NHS predictive tests for the BRCA1/2 gene mutation may be ordered if cancer runs in your family.
This type of test doesn’t guarantee that you’re most definitely going to develop cancer, it only reveals if you’re at an increased risk.
If two or more relatives from the same side of your family had ovarian or breast cancer, you might be at higher risk.