March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in March to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer.
Only three per cent of women are very confident of spotting a symptom of ovarian cancer.
However, 7000 women are diagnosed a year and survival rates are much lower than for other cancers because it is diagnosed at a fairly late stage, often after it has spread to other parts of the body. In Lewisham, there were 24 cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed in 2012.
Marc Rowland, Chair of NHS Lewisham CCG, said people need to be aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer as early diagnosis is crucial.
"Women need to know what to look for, so they go to their doctor as soon as possible," he said.
"GPs need to know what to rule out, so they can send women for the right diagnostic tests as soon as possible. Only with increased awareness of the symptoms can we increase early diagnosis.
"As a first step, keep a symptoms diary to note down each time your symptoms occur, when you first noticed them and if they seem to be getting worse.
"You're not wasting anyone's time by getting the symptoms checked out and if it's nothing to worry about it will put your mind at rest".
Symptoms of ovarian cancer may include:
· Persistent stomach pain
· Persistent bloating
· Finding it difficult to eat or feeling full quickly
· Needing to wee more often.
If you're regularly experiencing these symptoms on most days it's important to talk to your GP as soon as possible. Other symptoms you may notice include:
· Back pain
· Changes in your bowel habits (diarrhoea or constipation)
· Feeling tired all the time
Things to tell your GP:
· Your concerns that you may have ovarian cancer and what your symptoms are
· How often you experience your symptoms using a symptoms diary
· If you have any family members who have or have had ovarian, breast or prostate cancer
For more information go to www.ovarian.org.uk
 Statistic from Ovarian Cancer Action