Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer diagnosed in women, specifically targeting the ovaries in the reproductive system. How would you know if there’s a tumour growing inside of you? The Ovarian Cancer Action charity clarified that not all tumours in the ovaries are cancerous. Benign tumours (i.e. non-cancerous tumours) are rarely life-threatening and don’t tend to spread to other parts of the body.
In addition, there may also be an increased need to urinate when suffering from ovarian cancer.
If any of those four symptoms above have been affecting you persistently, please speak to your GP about arranging a test for ovarian cancer.
The charity recommend asking your GP for a CA125 blood test if you’re concerned.
“It is important to remember that GPs see the common symptoms of ovarian cancer multiple times a day, and the majority of the time there will be a more common cause,” said Ovarian Cancer Action.
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There are four distant aspects to the symptoms of ovarian cancer, which are:
- The symptoms are persistent
- The symptoms are frequent (experiencing them for more than 12 days per month)
- The symptoms get progressively worse
- The symptoms have started in the last 12 months
- The symptoms are unusual for you
Other signs of ovarian cancer, which can be attributed to other health conditions, include:
- Changes in bowel habits
- Extreme fatigue
- Back pain
To help receive the right diagnosis, it’d be helpful to document your symptoms in a dairy.
Should you not be satisfied with your doctor’s response, it’s in your right to ask for a second medical opinion from another doctor.
Am I at risk of ovarian cancer?
Those with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation are more at risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Those who have a strong family history of cancer may be able to be referred to a local genetics service by their doctor.
The NHS said the predictive genetic testing only identifies if you have a higher risk of cancer – not if you will get it.
Most ovarian cancer cases develop in women over the age of 50, so increasing age is a risk factor for developing the disease.
In addition to family history and age, there are other factors that may marginally increase your risk of ovarian cancer.
This includes starting your period before the age of 12, going through the menopause over the age of 50, and having your first child after 30.
Other risk factors include not having any children, not breastfeeding and having endometriosis.
“Smoking may increase your risk of developing mucinous ovarian cancer,” added the charity.