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March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging women to become more aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer this month because they are easily missed! Ovarian-cancer_618x315_CRO_LEW_SWK_WAN.png

Dr Esther Appleby, local GP and Cancer Lead at NHS Lewisham CCG,  said: "Two-thirds of woman are diagnosed once ovarian cancer has already spread. Women can improve their chances of survival by knowing the symptoms and seeing their GP if they are concerned.  According to the research by the charity Target Ovarian Cancer, only 3% of women are aware of the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer."

Ovarian Cancer in Lewisham

For every 100 000 women in Lewisham the number of new cases of ovarian cancer each year is 22 and the number of deaths is 12. This is similar to the England averages but the survival rate could be significantly improved if more cases were diagnosed earlier.

Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

The most important risk factors for developing ovarian cancer are age and family history. However, being overweight, smoking, using talcum powder intimately and the use of HRT are also risk factors.

 In Lewisham help with healthier lifestyle choices is available from Lewisham Council.


Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Most women who are affected are over 50 years old and may notice symptoms of;

  • Persistent bloating - (not bloating that comes and goes)

  • Feeling full quickly and/or loss of appetite

  • Pelvic or abdominal pain (that's your tummy and below)

  • Urinary symptoms (needing to wee more urgently or more often than usual)

Occasionally there can be other symptoms:

  • Changes in bowel habit (eg diarrhoea or constipation)

  • Feeling extremely tired

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Any bleeding after the menopause should always be investigated by a GP.

The symptoms will also be;.

  • New

  • Persistent

  • Frequent

Women who are worried about any cancer, including ovarian, should see their GP as soon as possible.

During March, the Target Ovarian Cancer charity is running Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, to raise awareness and funds for this condition.

Dr Appleby said: "Women need to know what to look for, so they go to their doctor as soon as possible.  The symptoms are subtle and so are often ignored leading to a delay in diagnose, which reduces the chance of survival."

Further information on ovarian cancer, and resources to support Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month are available [online] from: