The symptoms of ovarian cancer women need to know

A new worldwide study has revealed two in three women don’t know anything about ovarian cancer prior to their diagnosis – despite it being the deadliest of female cancers.

According to the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition, ovarian cancer has a 45 per cent survival rate and as the symptoms are vague and generalised, women need to be more educated.

The study

The study by the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition found it takes an average of 32.5 weeks from when a woman experiences symptoms of ovarian cancer to the time they’re diagnosed.

According to Jane Hill, CEO of Ovarian Cancer Australia, the first 10.7 weeks is the woman delaying going to the doctor.

“Women lead busy lives – working, care-fiving, parenting – so firstly women may ignore their symptoms often because they’re just too busy,” Hill said.

The second side of the delay is the average 21.8 weeks it can take a doctor to diagnose ovarian cancer.

“It is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are vague,” Hill said.

“The four common symptoms are pelvic or abdominal pain, feeling full after eating a small meal, urgency or frequency of wanting to go to the toilet and a bloated stomach.

“The public and GPs need to know the symptoms. We don’t want women to get alarmed but if they do experience those symptoms persistently for a four to six week period then they should be going to see the doctor.”

What you need to know

Currently, ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer and it’s on the rise with incidence expected to grow approximately 55 per cent by 2035.

Though the cause of ovarian cancer remains unknown, 15 to 20 per cent of cases are due to inherited mutations.

Other factors of ovarian cancer include age (it’s more common for women over 50), smoking, poor diet, being overweight, not having children, and endometriosis.