Friday, 26 February 2010

Women missing ovarian cancer signs

ovarian ribbon 

Almost one in three women (29%) mistakenly believe a smear test will pick up signs of ovarian cancer, a poll has found.

Only 4% are confident they could spot symptoms of the disease themselves and many believe it is less common than cervical cancer.

Some 6,800 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year and 4,500 die from it, four times as many as die from cervical cancer.

Symptoms include permanent bloating and tummy pain.

The poll of more than 1,000 women found that twice as many (66%) had been given information about cervical cancer as those who had details on ovarian cancer (33%). Of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, more than half (56%) did not know anything about the disease beforehand.

TV presenter Gaby Roslin is backing a new campaign by the charity Target Ovarian Cancer called Unzipped.

She said: "Not enough women know about ovarian cancer and there is confusion between it and cervical cancer.

"Make yourself aware and look after your ovaries, so that you have the chance to catch ovarian cancer early and vastly increase your chance of survival.

"Three times as many women could survive if it was diagnosed at the earliest possible stage.

"If you regularly have difficulty doing up your trousers and perhaps look like you could be pregnant, have persistent tummy pain and feel full or have difficulty eating, it's best to get checked out. They are common symptoms but, when they happen on most days, make your GP aware of what is happening to you."



  1. I was thinking yesterday...if only I had been given a blood test for CA-125 six months prior to my diagnosis. A simple little blood test. I recognize that this is not a definitive test for ovca, but perhaps it would have alerted my doc sooner. I saw her every 6 months and it was me, myself, and I who actually made decisions that led to my diagnosis. Wish I'd known about CA-125 then.

  2. Whitestone - there's a better test now - the OvPlex one [I posted it on my blog]. You have to buy it, but who cares? Shame it's a bit late for us.

    Good post Trace - 'look after your ovaries'?? whahaha - if I got my hands on the little blighters they'd be toast!

  3. I had to go back and read your stats a second time. This chemo brain forgot you were writing about UK stats. Here in the US we have roughly ~21,000 new cases and 14,600 deaths. We run into the same confusion with the Pap test and cervical cancer here too.

    I love the line 'look after your ovaries'.