Cancer Research UK highlights ovarian cancer

In collaboration with the Press Association

Cancer Research UK has highlighted the importance of vigilance when it comes to ovarian cancer. The call comes ahead of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in March.

Ovarian cancer can be difficult to spot, meaning that many patients do not receive treatment until tumours have grown and spread within the body.

Because of this delay, ovarian cancer has a high mortality rate. Only around two out of every ten women with the disease will survive for five years after diagnosis. But if the disease is caught early, then around nine out of ten women will survive.

"The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague and sometimes difficult to spot," said Professor Robert Brown, an ovarian cancer specialist at the Cancer Research UK Department of Medical Oncology in Glasgow.

"They can include pain in the side or lower abdomen, or feeling full or bloated.

"While it is very unlikely that a woman with just these symptoms has ovarian cancer, she should go to her doctor and ask for a check-up if these problems persist. Finding cancers as early as possible is often the key to successful treatment," he added.

Ovarian cancer is the fourth most common form of cancer among women in the UK. Around 6,900 new cases are diagnosed every year.

The risk of ovarian cancer increases with age, with about half of all cases occurring among women over the age of 65. Having a close relative with the disease also increases a woman's risk.