Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Ovarian cancer is among the most common type of cancers in women, it’s also known as cancer of the ovaries. Ovaries are pair of small organs located low in the tummy that are connected to the womb and stores a woman’s supply of eggs.

Ovarian cancer mostly affects women who have been through the menopause, but it can sometimes affect young women.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer

Some of the symptoms of ovarian cancer included:

  1. A swollen tummy
  2. Feeling full quickly when eaten
  3. Discomfort in your pelvic or tummy area
  4. Feeling constantly bloated
  5. Needing to pee more often than usual

The symptoms are not easy to recognise because they are similar to those of some common conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome.

You are advice to see a doctor if:

  1. You have been feeling bloated, particularly more than 12 times a month  
  2. You have other symptoms of ovarian cancer that will not go away
  3. You have a family history of ovarian cancer and are worried you may be at higher risk of getting it

It’s unlikely to have cancer but it best to check. A doctor can do some simple test to see if you might have it.

Causes of ovarian cancer

The actual cause of cancer is unknown. But somethings may increase a woman’s risk of getting it, for example:

  1. A family history of ovarian or breast cancer – this could mean you have inherited genes that increase your risk of cancer
  2. Being overweight
  3. Endometriosis – a condition where tissues that behaves like the lining of the womb is found outside the womb
  4. Being over the age of 50
  5. Hormone replacement therapy – although any increase in cancer risk is likely to be very small

Treatment of ovarian cancer

The treatment for ovarian cancer depends on things like how far the cancer has spread and your general health.

The main treatments are:

  • surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible – this will often involve removing both ovaries, the womb and the tubes connecting them to each other (fallopian tubes)
  • Chemotherapy – this is usually used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells, but is occasionally used before surgery to shrink the cancer

Treatment will aim to cure the cancer whenever possible. If the cancer has spread too far to be cured, the aim is to relieve symptoms and control the cancer for as long as possible.

For more information, please speak to your doctor.

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