We use cookies so our web site can function correctly. By clicking "OK" or by clicking into any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed.

Privacy Statement

A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer's hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.

We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about web page traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes.

Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website, by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.

Cookie group mandatory

(Req)
These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms.
You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

These cookies are required

Functional

These cookies allow us to adtertise our products to you and allow us to pass this information on to our trusted third parties so that they can advertise our products to you on our behalf
All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. No personal inforation is shared to third parties. Any personal information collected while using our website could be used for direct marketing from HCA only

Marketing

These cookies allow us to advertise our products to you and allow us to pass this information on to our trusted third parties so that they can advertise our products to you on our behalf
All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. No personal inforation is shared to third parties. Any personal information collected while using our website could be used for direct marketing from HCA only

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site.  All information collect is annonomas unless you provide personal information to us.
If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

Understanding the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer

Did you know that over 7,000 cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the UK every year?

Although ovarian cancer is most common in post-menopausal women (usually over the age of 50), it can also affect younger women, as well as women with a family history, who may be at an increased genetic risk. 

Sally HarrisEarly symptoms can be subtle, so it is important to be aware of key warning signs and discuss any concerns with your GP as soon as possible.

Here, Dr Sally Harris, a GP at The Wilmslow Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK, shares the four key warning signs that women shouldn’t ignore.

1. Persistent bloating

Women often experience bloating, so as a symptom it can be one that is easily ignored. However, persistent bloating that does not come and go should always be discussed with your GP.

Bloating is often put down to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), however, this doesn’t usually present in women in their late 40’s or 50’s, so it is important to rule out ovarian cancer before a diagnosis of IBS can be confirmed.  

2. Persistent pelvic and abdominal pain

Any pain should always be discussed with your GP. Whilst not always a sign of cancer, it is important address any underlying causes. Persistent pelvic and abdominal pain, which can also present as lower back pain, can be a key warning sign of ovarian cancer and it’s important to flag this.

3. Feeling full quickly

Unexplained changes to appetite, such as feeling full quickly or not being able to finish a meal, can be an indication of an underlying health condition. It is important that you contact your GP if you experience these symptoms which can also be accompanied by unexplained weight loss – as this is one of the early warning signs of ovarian cancer. I often wonder if this symptom presents late, because as women, comments about weight loss are almost always perceived as a compliment. But it really is vital to discuss any unexplained weight loss or changes to your appetite with your GP as soon as possible.

4.Unexplained changes in bowel habit and an increased need to urinate

Any changes in bowel habits should be discussed with your GP - this includes unexplained diarrhoea (loose stools) or constipation (difficulty in passing stools). The need to urinate more often or an increased urgency to urinate (feeling like you can’t hold on) should also be raised. Some people may feel uncomfortable discussing these symptoms, but as GPs it is something we hear about often and can be key to helping establish a diagnosis of underlying causes.

Any post-menopausal bleeding could be another indication of an underlying condition, including ovarian cancer. So, if you do experience this it is vital to raise it with your GP.

We know people are worried about seeking medical advice, either because they are worried about visiting a healthcare setting or do not want to be a burden on the healthcare system at this time, but I can’t stress enough how important it is not to ignore any symptoms. Delaying contacting your GP or healthcare provider can delay diagnosis, and we know with cancer just how important an early diagnosis is to onward treatment and long-term outcomes.

Next steps...

We know people are worried about seeking medical advice, either because they are worried about visiting a healthcare setting or do not want to be a burden on the healthcare system at this time, but I can’t stress enough how important it is not to ignore any symptoms. Delaying contacting your GP or healthcare provider can delay diagnosis, and we know with cancer just how important an early diagnosis is to onward treatment and long-term outcomes. 

Most GPs are able to offer initial telephone or video appointments at this time, and we can even prescribe some medications electronically so you may not need to come in. If after your initial virtual consultation, your GP advises you need a face-to-face appointment or further tests, you can be reassured that we are following the latest guidelines and taking all the necessary precautions to keep you and our team as safe as possible. If you are experiencing any new or worrying symptoms, please do not delay in seeking medical advice. As GPs we are here to listen, support and help you get any onward care you may need. 
back to top