Warning Signs for Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer (oc) was the topic on the Health Report on ABC radio last week.

On the show Norman Swan explained there is no effective screening test for oc, and the possible warning signs are confusing because they are all common symptoms that most women experience some of the time. A new study has been investigating this, and come up with guidelines that are a little clearer.

Here are the 3 symptoms most commonly associated with ovarian cancer:

  • abdominal bloating

  • increased abdominal size

  • feeling full quickly after eating

The message is to be alert not alarmed – the time to worry (and consult a doctor) is if you experience all 3 symptoms, particularly if any symptom is severe and if they persist over time.

Any woman will know some of these feelings
from ordinary variations in the monthly cycle. If you feel yourself
that something is unusual for you, don't let anyone trivialise it. Trust
yourself and your knowledge of your own body. Keep going back to your
GP or try different doctors till you find one willing to check up. The
tests might be as simple as a blood test and ultrasound scan to give you
peace of mind.

The program also reported on advances in genetic tests and treatment for a subset of women with some types of oc. These are women with increased genetic risk, and the tests may improve detection of oc n their daughters.

Here are links to the radio program in 3 parts on the ABC web site.

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/healthreport/stories/2011/3270575.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/healthreport/stories/2011/3270583.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/healthreport/stories/2011/3270567.htm

You can read transcripts or download the program in mp3 format and listen to it.

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