Did you know it’s Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month? Around 7000 women in the UK are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, with a lifetime risk of developing the condition standing at 1 in 50. But what is ovarian cancer? And how can it be detected? Dr Sachin Maiti, a Consultant Gynaecologist at independent medical provider Pall Mall Medical, answers all of the questions you need to know.
What is ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer is essentially a cancer arising from either of the ovaries or both. Ovarian cancer is more common in women over the age of 45 or after menopause.
What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?
Symptoms can be quite vague and non-specific like:
- Persistent abdominal pain
- Persistent feeling of bloating
- Difficulty eating or feeling full more quickly
- Needing to pass urine more frequently
If any of these symptoms are persistent and frequent, you should contact a doctor to get checked out.
What is your advice to women who think they may have ovarian cancer?
If you have any of the symptoms above or have a family history of bowel, breast or colon cancer or carry genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2 that make you more likely to develop ovarian cancer, you must see a doctor to get checked out.
How have you typically diagnosed somebody with ovarian cancer, ie. have they come in with another problem, have they suspected they have ovarian cancer?
Most of the women who get diagnosed with ovarian cancer have been ignoring these symptoms for a long time thinking stress, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, hormonal imbalance due to menopause or gaining weight were the cause for their symptoms. For some women, it was quite obvious for some time and they were really afraid of facing the diagnosis of cancer. Diagnosis is based on clinical examination, a simple blood test of tumour markers like CA125 and HE4 etc and imaging tests like a pelvic ultrasound or a CT scan.
How treatable is ovarian cancer?
The majority of women with ovarian cancer will have surgical removal of the tumour followed by chemotherapy. Some will need radiotherapy. Some of the woman will have only chemotherapy and removal of fluid from the abdomen for symptomatic relief if the cancer is very advanced and has spread far and wide at the time of diagnosis.
For women with ovarian cancer in England and Wales:
- More than 70 out of every 100 women (more than 70%) will survive their cancer for one year or more after they are diagnosed
- Almost 50 out of every 100 women (almost 50%) will survive their cancer for five years or more
- 35 out of every 100 women (35%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more
What is an ovarian cancer screening?
Due to vague symptoms and late diagnosis of most ovarian cancers, any woman can have an ovarian cancer screening test with a simple pelvic ultrasound scan and blood test to ascertain her risk of having ovarian cancer. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the chance of cure or at least duration of disease-free survival is remarkably improved.
What should I do next?
If you are concerned about your risk of ovarian cancer, contact Pall Mall Medical today 03300 58 44 55 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re able to offer rapid access to private Consultant Gynaecology appointments at our clinics in Liverpool, Manchester or Newton-le-Willows. All appointments are confidential, no information is shared and No NHS referral is needed.
At Pall Mall Medical - you can simply call and book directly. No hassle means less stress and faster access to the help you need.
A little about us:
As an independent private medical provider, Pall Mall Medical have city centre clinics in Manchester & Liverpool and a fully private hospital in Newton-le-Willows. The doctor-led organisation offers a full range of healthcare services, including private GP appointments, specialist consultant appointments, as well as advanced diagnostic testing & scanning, cosmetic surgery and occupational health. We're approved and regulated under the Care Quality Commission as patient safety always comes first.