Every year, 295,000 women around the world are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and it is the 6th most common cancer in the UK 

According to Cancer Research UK, ovarian cancer survival is improving and has almost doubled in the last 40 years in the UK, but there is still much that needs to be done to raise awareness about the illness. 90 per cent of women don’t know the four main symptoms, and as an early diagnosis can make a real difference to the effectiveness of treatment, being able to identify if something is wrong could be lifesaving. 

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is a time to speak out for further funding and research into ovarian cancer, as well as raising awareness about the symptoms of the disease, helping to improve survival rates and quality of life for those suffering with ovarian cancer.  

What is Ovarian Cancer? 

According to the NHS, ovarian cancer affects the 2 small organs (ovaries) that store eggs. You cannot get ovarian cancer if you’ve had surgery to remove your ovaries.  

What are the symptoms? 

The symptoms of ovarian cancer can vary but the four main symptoms include: 

  • Persistent stomach pain 
  • Persistent bloating 
  • Difficulty eating/feeling full more quickly 
  • Needing to wee more frequently 

These can also be symptoms of other less serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, so if you’re experiencing any of the above it doesn’t necessarily mean you have ovarian cancer, but you should still visit a GP.  

Be aware of whether your symptoms are persistent, severe, frequent, or out of the ordinary.  

Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include: 

  • indigestion 
  • constipation or diarrhoea 
  • back pain 
  • feeling tired all the time 
  • losing weight without trying 
  • bleeding from the vagina after the menopause 

Diagnosis 

Unfortunately, unlike other cancers, there is not yet a reliable effective screening method for ovarian cancer. Charities such as Ovarian Cancer Action are hoping to change this through funding research into the development of screening tool.   

Knowing the early signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer can lead to early diagnosis and life-saving treatment. If a woman is diagnosed at the earliest stage, her chance of surviving ovarian cancer for five years or more doubles from just 46 per cent to more than 90 per cent.  

Misdiagnosis 

It is very difficult to spot ovarian cancer early. Due to the non-specific nature of many of the symptoms, there is a risk that they may be mistakenly attributed to a different condition, such as gastrointestinal or bowel problems.  

Awareness and treatment of ovarian cancer is advancing every day, but unfortunately some cases are still misdiagnosed or not treated correctly.  

Doctors and nurses will always try to give the best treatment possible, but mistakes do happen, particularly if you are experiencing unusual symptoms, multiple conditions, or the consultations are over the telephone. 

Delays or mistakes in diagnosing ovarian cancer can be very serious, and in extreme cases it can lead to hysterectomies and even death.   

If you feel like your health has been adversely affected by medical negligence, RHL Solicitors expert solicitors are here to help. Our specialist clinical negligence team adopt The Law Society’s approved ‘No Win, No Fee’ Agreement to cover their legal fees and always offer a professional and personal service.