What is ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer is a loosely used term that encompasses gynaecological cancer arising from the ovaries, tubes and peritoneum. All of the cancers present similarly, and are managed similarly. About 7,500 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. The risk of developing ovarian cancer is very low in young women, 80% of ovarian cancer occurs in women over 50. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often rather vague and non-specific and are therefore sometimes ignored.
key signs & symptoms
• Abdominal bloating or swelling – which is persistent and doesn’t come and go
• Loss of appetite, difficulty eating and feeling full more quickly
• Abdominal or pelvic pain felt over a period of time
• A change in bladder habits
More obvious gynaecological symptoms, such as vaginal bleeding or pain on intercourse, may sometimes occur. These symptoms are common to many other conditions, but the development of new abdominal symptoms in a middle-aged woman is always a concern and should be investigated with a clinical examination, and an ultrasound scan.
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