According to the SSCA, women across Surrey and Sussex are being diagnosed at a much later stage of ovarian cancer compared with national figures. This late-stage diagnosis reduces their chances of survival.
Do you know the symptoms of ovarian cancer? Knowing the symptoms and spotting them early can save your life. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, don't hesitate to contact your GP.
The key symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
• Persistent abdominal bloating or swelling
• Loss of appetite, difficulty eating and feeling full more quickly
• Pelvic or abdominal pain over a period of time
• Needing to pass urine more frequently
To coincide with Ovarian Cancer Awareness month this March, a new poster highlighting the key symptoms has been produced by GRACE, a gynaecological cancer charity which supports women across Surrey and Sussex.
According to Target Ovarian Cancer, a UK-wide ovarian cancer charity, the risk of getting this disease increases as a woman gets older. Women over the age of 50 have a higher risk, and most cases of ovarian cancer occur in women who have already gone through the menopause. More than half the cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed are women aged over 65 years.
Horsham resident Sylvie Allsop, 53, thought her tummy troubles were due to IBS and attributed her sporadic groin and pelvic pain to the onset of the menopause.
“I was having indigestion, constipation and a rumbling tummy after eating and thought that could be IBS. I was also having pain in my groin and pelvis and going to the loo a lot which I put down to the menopause as I was getting to that age,” says the mother of two grown-up sons. “I tried eating different types of food to see if it would get better but it didn’t. I researched the symptoms and thought maybe it is ovarian cancer but I didn’t want to believe it as I thought I was relatively young to have that.”
She went to her GP several weeks after she first started having problems and was later diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Sylvie is now in remission following a hysterectomy in August 2019 at East Surrey Hospital and chemotherapy treatment at St Luke’s Cancer Centre in Guildford.