March Is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Merton women urged to be aware of symptoms

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is running throughout March to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Only 3% of women are very confident that they would be able to spot a symptom of ovarian cancer. However, 7,000 women are diagnosed and survival rates are much lower than for other cancers because it is diagnosed at a fairly late stage, often after it has spread to other parts of the body.

Dr Howard Freeman, local GP and Chair of NHS Merton Merton Clinical Commissioning Group said: "People need to be aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer as early diagnosis is crucial. Women need to know what to look for, so they go to their doctor as soon as possible. GPs need to know what to rule out, so they can send women for the right diagnostic tests as soon as possible.

"Only with increased awareness of the symptoms can we increase early diagnosis. As a first step, keep a symptoms diary to note down each time your symptoms occur, when you first noticed them and if they seem to be getting worse.

"The fear surrounding cancer can lead people to ignore important symptoms, but we want to overcome the stigma and encourage people to seek help early. You are not wasting anyone’s time by getting the symptoms checked out and if it’s nothing to worry about it will put your mind at rest."

Councillor Caroline Cooper-Marbiah (Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Merton Council) said: "I would encourage all women in Merton who are not aware of the ovarian cancer symptoms to look up all the medical advice available to them online and at their local GP surgeries. This will help raise awareness and give them the confidence to see someone at the earliest opportunity if they experience any of the signs."

Symptoms of ovarian cancer may include:

  • ·         Persistent stomach pain
  • ·         Persistent bloating
  • ·         Finding it difficult to eat or feeling full quickly
  • ·         Needing to wee more often

If you are regularly experiencing these symptoms on most days it is important to talk to your GP as soon as possible.

Other symptoms you may notice include:

  • ·         Back pain
  • ·         Changes in your bowel habits (diarrhoea or constipation)
  • ·         Feeling tired all the time

Things to tell your GP

  • ·         Your concerns that you may have ovarian cancer
  • ·         What your symptoms are
  • ·         How often you experience your symptoms using a symptoms diary
  • ·         If you have any family members who have or have had ovarian, breast or prostate cancer.
March 11, 2015