7 ovarian cancer signs every woman must know – as screening plans ‘delayed a DECADE’
THOUSANDS of women could be at risk of ovarian cancer as screening plans for the disease have been delayed by a decade, one expert has warned.
After two decades of work a major trial to detect ovarian cancer has failed to save lives.
Pain in your stomach or pelvic area is one of the key symptoms of ovarian cancer[/caption]
Around 200,000 people participated in the University College London trial which had used annual blood tests in the hope that it would be able to find otherwise missed cases of the cancer.
The trial tracked levels of CA125 which is a chemical released by ovarian tumours.
If this chemical was found in the blood during the tests then participants would be sent for an uasound.
At the end of the study 39 per cent more stage one and two cancers were detected and 10 per cent fewer cases went on to stage three and four.
The final data, published in The Lancet however showed that the tests had not saved lives and one expert says this could now push screening options back by a decade.
Prof Ian Jacobs, from the University of New South Wales told the BBC: “Realistically, this means we have to reluctantly accept that population screening for ovarian cancer is more than a decade away.
“This is deeply disappointing and frustrating given the hope of all involved that we would save the lives of thousands of women.”
Two thirds of women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer at a late stage, when it has already spread and is much harder to treat successfully.
If diagnosed at the earliest stage, nine out of 10 (93 per cent) will survive for five years or more.
When diagnosed at the most advanced stage (stage IV) just 13 per cent will survive.
It’s often described as a “silent killer” and signs of ovarian cancer can be hard to spot as they are often mistaken for less serious health issues such as bloating or needing to urinate more often.
Here are the 7 signs you need to look out for:
Loads of us suffer from bloating on a regular basis but here, we’re talking about chronic bloating that doesn’t go away after you’ve had a poo or a few hours after eating.
It was previously reported that four in five women don’t know that this is one of the main symptoms of ovarian cancer.
A study by Target Ovarian Cancer found that just 17 per cent of women said they would make an appointment within one week if they had bloating for three weeks or more.
WHO IS MOST AT RISK OF OVARIAN CANCER?
A number of things can increase your risk from ovarian cancer, including:
- Age – Women older than 50 have a greater risk
- Family history – If ovarian or breast cancer runs in the family you could have inherited genes that make you more at risk
- Weight – If you are overweight you may be more susceptible
- Conditions – If you have endometriosis, where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb grows outside the womb area, this can increase your chance. If you have had hormone replacement therapy (HRT), there is a very small chance this can increase your risk
2. Pain in your belly or pelvic area
Again, belly aches aren’t uncommon but if you feel pain every day then that’s an indication that something’s up.
If you have tension in your stomach or pelvis which goes after passing wind or going to the loo, you might have something like IBS. With ovarian cancer, however, there’s no physical release.
3. Feeling full quickly when eating
Changes in appetite are always worth getting checked out. If you normally demolish three good meals a day and suddenly find yourself struggling to eat half of your breakfast, something’s not right.
Feeling full or a sudden change in appetite could be cause for concern[/caption]
4. Needing to pee more often
Drinking more water might make you run to the loo but when you’re peeing more frequently for no apparent reason, it’s worth getting checked out.
Needing to pee usually isn’t a sign of ovarian cancer but could be a symptom of something else going on in the area.
5. Back pain
Like needing to pee more, there are any number of reasons why you might get lower back pain.
But if you have any of these other signs then you absolutely must go to see your GP as soon as you can.
Combined with other symptoms, lower back pain could be a sign of ovarian cancer[/caption]
6. Change in poo habits
Our poo tells us a lot about our health.
To know if anything changes, you have to be aware of what’s natural for you. If you normally go for a poo once or twice a day and suddenly find yourself running to the loo five or six times, that’s a sign that something is off.
The same applies if you struggle to go at all.
7. Unexplained weight loss
If you haven’t been actively trying to lose weight and find that a couple of stone have suddenly fallen off, that’s not a good sign.
Losing weight when you are not trying to is a very common symptom in people with cancer. It may be one of the reasons you first go to the doctor.
An unexplained weight loss of 10lbs or more may be the first sign of cancer.
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Cancer Research UK says: “If you are not dieting and you lose more than 5 per cent of your normal weight in one month or 10 per cent in six months, your doctor will want to find out the cause.
“For example, if you normally weigh 10 stone (63.5 kg) and lose half a stone (3kg) in a month, or a stone (6kg) in six months that would need investigating.
“This may not seem like a lot of weight, but if you continue to lose weight at this rate, it could become a serious problem.”