Study reveals that most women don’t realise that bloating is an early symptom of ovarian cancer

A new study has revealed that four out of five women in the UK wouldn’t recognise bloating as a symptom of ovarian cancer.

Target Ovarian Cancer released their findings to raise awareness about the cancer which can be deadly, but has a high survival rate if caught early enough.

While bloating is very common in most women, and can be caused by constipation, food intolerance, IBS and other stomach or bowel related issues, bloating, or a full feeling in the abdomen is also a key sign of early stage ovarian cancer.

Many women with very early stage of ovarian cancer don’t have any symptoms or dismiss the ones they do. As well as bloating, pain in the lower tummy is also a common symptom of early stage ovarian cancer.

GP Dr Vicki Barber, a clinical advisor for Target Ovarian Cancer commented on the charity’s findings, calling them ‘worrying’.

‘Our research shows that four out of five women in the UK cannot name one of the major symptoms of ovarian cancer: bloating. This is incredibly worrying,’ she explained.

While bloating is common, if experienced in addition to lower tummy pain or in isolation, and is new, doesn’t come and go, and is quite severe, Cancer Research UK advises that there is more chance that the symptoms are caused by cancer.

Signs of stage 2 or stage 3 ovarian cancer include:

• irregular periods or vaginal bleeding after menopause
• lower tummy (abdominal) pain
• back pain
• passing urine more often than usual
• constipation
• pain during sex
• a swollen abdomen
• a feeling of fullness or loss of appetite

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If you are worried that you may have any of these symptoms, if they don’t go away or are very severe, then you should see your GP.

Cancer Research UK add: ‘Your symptoms are unlikely to be cancer but it is important to get them checked by a doctor. Depending on your symptoms, you may need to see a specialist doctor.’