What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer and why do so many women ignore them? 4 years ago

What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer and why do so many women ignore them?

Bloating is one of the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer that is repeatedly ignored.

A study carried out by Target Ovarian Cancer has shown that half of women who experience bloating dismiss it as normal.


Many said that they simply eat a probiotic yoghurt or amend their diet.

The charity has warned that women could be "risking their lives" by passing off this common symptom of the condition.

The main reason why so many of us are ignoring this symptom is due to a lack of knowledge, or an "awareness gap" about the cancer itself.

Chief executive Annwen Jones said that if something is worrying you, you should go see your GP.


She said:

"Women should not be risking their lives because of the enduring awareness gap around the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

"If women know ovarian cancer symptoms such as persistent bloating and are able to link them to ovarian cancer early on, lives will be saved."

According to the charity, 11 women die every day due to the condition.


Cancer of the ovaries is more likely to affect women over the age of 55, but women of any age can develop it.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women after breast cancer, bowel cancer, lung cancer and cancer of the uterus.

It affects approximately 315 women in Ireland every year, with 90 percent of those living for another five years if the cancer is found and treated before it has a chance to spread.

While bloating may be one of the more common (and ignored) symptoms of ovarian cancer, there are other factors that may suggest that something is not quite right.


These are repeated abdominal and pelvic pain, having difficulty or feeling nauseous when eating, and needing to urinate more often. 

Many of these symptoms often tend to point to less serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, however, they are more frequently noted in women with ovarian cancer.

The HSE recommends that women who are worried about these symptoms should keep a diary documenting how frequently and intensely they occur.

Ovarian cancer may be less common in women who have not experience the menopause, but it's never a bad idea to consult a doctor if your body is acting out of the ordinary.