Over 21,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer each year, but awareness is very poor. September marks Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month (GCAM), and our Health Projects Manager Ross Little shares some facts you might not know about ovarian and the other gynae cancers:
- There are five different types of gynaecological cancer: ovarian, cervical, womb, vulva and vagina
- Each year around 4,200 women die from ovarian cancer which is the equivalent of one women every two hours, and more than the other four gynae cancers combined
- Despite what 1 in 4 women believe, the cervical smear does not screen for ovarian cancer. It is used to screen the cervix for abnormal cells that, left unchecked, could lead to cancer
- Ovarian cancer has four main symptoms: persistent stomach pain; persistent bloating; needing to urinate more frequently or urgently; and feeling full more quickly
- Symptoms such as irregular bleeding, unusual discharge and itching aren’t usually associated with ovarian cancer, but can sometime be sign of womb, cervical, vulva or vaginal cancer
- Whether it is stomach pain, bloating, itching or bleeding women should always get symptoms checked out if they are out of the ordinary
Ovarian Cancer Action encourages all women to get to know their bodies and act on any unusual changes or symptoms quickly.
If you are concerned about symptoms download our symptoms diary which can be used to keep a note of the more common ovarian cancer symptoms, along with anything else you might be experiencing or concerned about. Take this with you to your GP so that they can get a better understanding of what you are worried about, and allow them to act accordingly.