Ovarian cancer is the 6th most common cancer among ‘women’ after breast, bowel, womb, melanoma and lung cancer. Almost 7,500 people are diagnosed with ovarian cancer a year in the UK.
It is most common post-menopause, although it can affect anyone with ovaries at any age. 85% of people who find out they have ovarian cancer find out in the later stages when treatment options are limited – early detection is vital!
There are 4 different types of ovarian cancer;
- Epithelial – starts in the epithelial (cells that cover your ovaries) 9/10 ovarian cancers are this type.
- Germ Cell & Sex-Cord Stromal Cell – These are rare tumours that usually affect younger women.
- Sex-Cord Stromal Cell Cancers – These start in the cells that make female hormones, these often respond well to treatment.
- Borderline Tumours – These have a lower risk of spreading than other tumours
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
- Increased belly size/persistent bloating
- Pain during sex
- Persistent need to pee
- Change in pooping habits – VERY common
- Tummy/pelvic pain
- Back pain
- Irregular periods
- Unexplained weight loss/gain
DON'T feel silly for going to the doctor, no matter how small it seems, it's YOUR body and you know it better than them!
It's important to note that a cervical smear test does NOT detect ovarian cancer, only cervical.
Treatments for Ovarian Cancer
Once you and your doctor are aware of the stage of your cancer the following treatments may be possible:
Cancer can sometimes be removed with an operation, this helps reduce the chances of the cancer coming back.
This uses drugs to kill or slow down the cancer growth. It is usually given if the cancer is advanced or has come back. It can be combined with the above treatments and is given as tablets or by injection.