Women urged to recognise the signs of ovarian cancer

March 12, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Feeling bloated most days for three weeks or more is the focus of a new Be Clear on Cancer campaign being launched by Public Health England in the North West.

Currently, women in the region have low awareness of symptoms. New survey data shows that almost all (97 per cent) don't link persistent bloating with ovarian cancer.

Latest figures show that 854 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the North West in 2011. The same year, 461 women died of the disease in the region.

More than 90 per cent of women diagnosed with the earliest stage of ovarian cancer survive for at least five years. This figure drops sharply to around five per cent for women diagnosed at the most advanced stage.

Around 500 lives could be saved in England each year if survival rates for ovarian cancer matched the best in Europe.

One way of achieving this is through earlier diagnosis. Only 14 per cent of women in the North West would go to their doctor as their first port of call, if they felt bloated most days for three weeks or more.

Professor Richard Edmondson, Professor of Gynaecological Oncology at The University of Manchester – part of Manchester Cancer Research Centre, said: "It is incredibly important for women to be aware of ovarian cancer symptoms. Treatment is much more successful if the disease is at an early stage. The message to women in the North West is clear - if you feel bloated, most days, for three weeks or more, tell your doctor."

Professor Paul Johnstone, the Regional Director of Public Health for North England said: "Public Health England is launching this campaign not only to raise awareness of symptoms, but to give women the confidence they need to go to their GP if they have concerns. With around 460 women dying of ovarian cancer in the North West each year, it's imperative they know that feeling bloated most days for three weeks or more is not normal."

Of those diagnosed, more than eight in 10 new cases of ovarian cancer are in women aged 50 and over – making this age group a priority for the campaign.

Worryingly, women within this age bracket in the North West are unaware that the risk of ovarian cancer increases with age – almost half (47 per cent) think of all ages are equally likely to get ovarian cancer. Less than a fifth (16 per cent) know they are most at risk.

The campaign will see adverts running on TV, radio and in the press in the North West television region. There will also be face-to-face events taking place in public places, including shopping centres in the region.

Explore further: Differences in treatment for advanced ovarian cancer could explain why UK survival lags behind other countries

Related Stories

Endometriosis treatments lower ovarian cancer risk

April 11, 2013

A novel study shows women who undergo surgical treatment for endometriosis have a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer. According to results published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, a journal of the ...

Average-risk women overestimate ovarian cancer risk

March 11, 2014

(HealthDay)—Average-risk, postmenopausal women overestimate their risk of ovarian cancer, but report low cancer worry, according to a study published in the March issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Recommended for you

Genetic sequencing reveals drug resistance growth

May 25, 2016

The rate at which genetically mutated cancer cells grow may help explain why patients with a common form of leukemia develop treatment resistance, according to new research led by a Weill Cornell Medicine investigator. The ...

Taking control of key protein stifles cancer spread in mice

May 20, 2016

For cancer to spread, the cells that take off into the bloodstream must find a tissue that will permit them to thrive. They don't just go looking, though. Instead, they actively prepare the tissue, in one case by co-opting ...

Cancer can be combated with reprogrammed macrophage cells

May 20, 2016

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have generated antibodies that reprogramme a type of macrophage cell in the tumour, making the immune system better able to recognise and kill tumour cells. The study, which is published ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.