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Ovarian cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women.

Ovarian Cancer Action research shows that women have a 2% chance of developing ovarian cancer in their lifetime. Below is some helpful information to know about who is at higher risk and the symptoms. Remember, if you are worried or show any signs, please call your GP. 

What is Ovarian Cancer?

According to Cancer Research UK, ovarian cancer is when abnormal cells in the ovary begin to grow and divide in an uncontrolled way, eventually forming a growth. It can often go undetected until is has spread to other areas of the body. Therefore it is important to know the symptoms and your risk factor.

Who is at higher risk?

If you are included in some of these risk categories, it doesn’t mean you will definitely get cancer. Similar to if you are not included in these categories, it doesn’t mean you definitely won’t get cancer. But it is good to be aware of your risks and any factors that might give you an increased chance of developing ovarian cancer. These factors include:

Age – Most common in women aged over 50. 24% of women who are diagnosed are in their 70s

Family History – If your family has a history of ovarian/breast cancer or you have two or more relatives who have been diagnosed

Health & Lifestyle – Factors like smoking, being overweight and a lack of exercise can all contribute to your risk

Endometriosis – A condition where the lining of the womb grows outside of the womb

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – Those taking HRT after the menopause

What are the symptoms?

There are 20 new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed every day, so spotting the symptoms is extremely important

–  Feeling constantly bloated, more than 12 times a month

–  Swollen tummy

–  Discomfort in your tummy or pelvic area

–  Feeling full quickly when eating, or loss of appetite

–  Needing to pee more often or more urgently than usual

Those these are the most common symptoms, according to the NHS other less common symptoms can include; persistent indigestion, pain during sex, back pain and unintentional weight loss.

If you have symptoms that could be caused by cancer, you should visit your GP who will discuss with your the various test options. If the GP thinks your symptoms could be due cancer, they’ll recommend having a blood test to check for CA125, which is produced by ovarian cancer cells. You could then be referred to have an ultra sound or to a specialist.