My really good friend Stephie Langford endured the hell of Ovarian Cancer when she was in her early 20’s. She managed to beat the odds and smash stage three Ovarian cancer. She is one hell of a woman for managing to take on and beat her cancer. Lots of love to you Stephie xx The aim of this post is to hopefully help empower you guys to know what to look out for, to understand what it is and how it might affect your body.
Ovarian cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women. It occurs in the ovaries which are located low down in the tummy, store Womens eggs and are connected to the womb.
Ovarian cancer mainly effects women who have been through the menopause (usually over the age of 50) but it’s really important to remember that it can also affect younger women too.
The most common symptoms of Ovarian Cancer include:
- Feeling constantly bloated
- A swollen tummy
- Discomfort in your tummy/pelvic area
- Feeling full quickly when eating
- Needing to pee more often than normal.
The symptoms can be incredibly difficult to recognise because they are so similar in nature to those of more common conditions like IBS. It’s important you keep going to the doctor with these symptoms so that nothing is missed.
The NHS advise you to visit your GP if:
- You have been feeling bloated more than 12 times a month
- You have other symptoms of ovarian cancer that will not go away
- You have a family history of ovarian cancer and are worried you have a higher risk of getting it.
Always remember, it’s unlikely you have cancer, but you must always, always check. There are a few simple tests a GP can do to see if you may have it. Your GP can also discuss and refer you for genetic testing if you have a family history of Ovarian Cancer.
If your GP decides you may be at risk of Ovarian Cancer he may ask to examine your tummy to feel for any lumps or swelling, he may perform an internal examination, and he may take a small blood sample looking for a substance CA125. CA125 is produced by some Ovarian Cancer cells, a high level of CA125 in you blood could be an indicator of Ovarian Cancer, as well as fibroids, endometriosis and pregnancy.
Sometimes the CA125 level in your blood can be low in the early stages of Ovarian Cancer so even if you are tested once and the results are fine, if things don’t improve.
Your GP may then refer you for an ultrasound that may be performed either abdominally or transvaginally, the scan can show changes in your ovaries that may be cause by cancer or another kind of fluid build up. At this point you would be referred to a specialist to run further tests such as a CT scan, needle biopsy or a laparoscopy.
We don’t know what causes Ovarian Cancer, but we know that some things might increase your risk of getting it, these things include:
- Being over the age of 50
- A family history of Ovarian or Breast cancer – this could mean you have inherited genes that increase your cancer risk.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – Any increase in cancer risk is likely to be very small
- Being overweight.
The main treatments for Ovarian Cancer are surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible. That will often include removing both ovaries, the womb and Fallopian tubes. Chemotherapy is also an option, usually used post surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells, but can occasionally be used before had too in order to shrink the cancer.
The outlook for Oviarian Cancer is really mixed. The earlier it’s found the better for the chance of a cure, but it seems as though we aren’t recognising things soon enough and by the time we do it is often too late for a cure. This is why news of @eveappeal funded researchers developing a screening test that may be able to speed up detection of this type of cancer by two years.
So please – know your body and never give up if you know something is wrong.
If you need further information or support then please, please do check out the Eve Appeal or visit your GP. All information has been taken from the NHS or @eveappeal