The subtle symptoms of ovarian cancer you should never ignore, says a gynecologist

According to Cancer Research UK, around 7,400 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year in the UK, making it the sixth most common cancer in women. Ovarian cancer is more common in older women over 50, but anyone can get the disease, and there are certain risk factors that can increase your chance of developing it, including smoking and conditions like endometriosis, as well as diabetes.

In this Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, gynecologist Dr. Suzanne Unsworth shares the subtle symptoms of ovarian cancer you should never ignore.

Experts say the biggest problem with this type of cancer is that more than 75 percent of cases are now diagnosed at advanced stages, when the cancer has already spread to or outside the abdomen, and while treatment has improved significantly, later diagnosis does mean that the survival rate is lower.

Speaking to the Mirror, Dr. Unsworth explained that one of the main reasons for the late diagnosis is that ovarian cancer often does not cause significant symptoms until it is sufficiently advanced. However, she claims there are a few subtle symptoms that could potentially be an early sign of ovarian cancer, and she warns women to be careful with them.

“I would suggest making an appointment with your therapist if you are experiencing them,” she told The Mirror. “Many of the symptoms are subtle and do not mean you have ovarian cancer. But they are worth checking to rule out any underlying problem.”

The doctor states that the “key symptoms” to look out for are bloating, pain, urinary symptoms, and a lump or swelling. She went on to explain exactly what to look out for for each of them.

For bloating, these are “new bloating, bloating that doesn’t go away within two to weeks, bloating that happens often without an obvious trigger, and bloating that doesn’t go away with usual medication/dietary changes.”

Next, be wary of “new pain in the pelvis, back, or lower abdomen that doesn’t go away quickly,” according to the expert. And if you’ve noticed that you “have more frequent urination or need to get up at night to urinate,” this could be a warning sign.

In addition to this, you may also experience loss of appetite or a quick feeling of fullness after eating, and if you notice any lump or swelling in your lower abdomen or pelvis, Dr. Unsworth recommends that you contact your GP immediately, although she states that this would be an “unusual” early sign.

Other symptoms to look out for include persistent indigestion, change in stool patterns (either constipation or diarrhea), unexplained weight loss, persistent fatigue, or abnormal vaginal bleeding.

She goes on to explain what you should expect if you talk to a therapist about any of these issues, saying, “These symptoms can often be quite subtle, and many of them are associated with other common conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. if the symptoms are new to you, different from your usual symptoms, or not responding to your usual treatment, then it makes sense to get them checked out.

“When you see your therapist, discuss the symptoms you are experiencing. I would also suggest telling your GP that you are concerned about ovarian cancer. It is much easier for me as a doctor if I also know what is bothering you – this way I can fully assess the problem for you, making sure that everything that is done has helped answer your questions.

“After discussing the symptoms, your doctor will likely want to do an examination. This will include an examination of your abdomen and may also include an internal vaginal examination as this is the best way to see if there are any tumors around the ovaries.

“With early ovarian cancer, often the results of the examination will actually be normal, as nothing can be felt yet. So your healthcare provider will likely order other tests for you, such as a pelvic ultrasound or a calcium-125 blood test looking for a protein known as a tumor marker.”

Dr. Unsworth adds: “Your doctor may also order other tests as the symptoms of ovarian cancer can be quite vague and can overlap with other conditions. These may include other blood tests to check for inflammation or potential causes of fatigue, include tests of your stool to look for any bowel problems.

“If any of these tests raise any concerns, your GP will refer you to a specialist gynecologist for further testing. If the test results are normal, the chance of ovarian cancer is extremely low and other options for treating the symptoms can be used. recommended.”

Dr. Unsworth is an NHS Community Gynecology and Menopause Specialist and founder of the Cambridge Women’s Health Clinic for Menopause and Meno8 Menopause Supplement.

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