Broadcaster Sarah Green raises awareness for ovarian cancer
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Women of a certain age (north of 75 year old) are more prone to developing ovarian cancer. However, it’s not unheard of for the disease to develop in younger women too. Macmillan Cancer Support said that a “loss of appetite” could be a sign of a tumour. Furthermore, you may experience a sense of fullness even though you’ve only had a few mouthfuls of something to eat.
There could be pain in the lower tummy area or back, and you may pass urine more frequently than usual.
It’s also particularly telling if you feel as though you need to pass urine more urgently (feeling as though you can’t hold yourself).
Other possible signs of ovarian cancer include:
- A change in your normal bowel habit (diarrhoea or constipation)
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Unexplained or extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- Vaginal bleeding after your menopause.
Anyone suspecting they might have developed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) after the age of 50 are advised by the charity to seek medical support.
Informing your doctor of IBS-like symptoms that began late in life could prompt them to check for ovarian cancer.
“IBS can cause bloating and changes in bowel habit, but it does not usually start after the age of 50,” said Macmillan Cancer Support.
If you yourself are concerned you may have ovarian cancer, do discuss your concerns with your doctor.
The NHS added other possible signs of ovarian cancer, which include:
- Persistent indigestion or feeling sick
- Pain during sex
- Feeling tired all the time
- Unintentional weight loss.
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Any bloating that occurs more than 12 times in one month is a clear indication you need to book a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible.
“A GP can do some simple tests for ovarian cancer to see if you have it,” said the NHS.
This may include a discussion of symptoms, feeling the stomach area for swellings or lumps, and a blood sample.
Further testing might involve a CT scan, ultrasound, and a biopsy.
Cancer Research UK noted: “There is no national screening programme for ovarian cancer in the UK.
“This is because there isn’t a test that reliably picks up ovarian cancer at an early stage.”
However, research into screening is currently underway; at present, two of the main tests used to pick up on cancer is the CA125 blood test and the transvaginal ultrasound.
The CA125 blood test is known as the “tumour marker for ovarian cancer”.
Women with ovarian cancer tend to have elevated levels of CA125 in their bloodstream.
However, CA125 can also be raised for other reasons not related to cancer.
Research funding is being utilised to uncover other blood markers for ovarian cancer.
As for the transvaginal ultrasound, “there is no clear evidence so far that these test can pick up cancers early”.
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