This blog will give you regular, high-quality information about cancer. You'll also get to meet the info team and get updates on our projects. We hope you find it useful. And if there are any topics you'd like us to blog about, just let us know.
March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Editorial assistant Helen has written a blog to help explain what some of the symptoms and risk factors of ovarian cancer are.
If you’re an avid EastEnders fan, you may be aware of a recent storyline in which a much-loved character, Jean Slater, is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Stories like Jean’s that feature in the public eye can help raise awareness of cancers that are less frequently spoken about. And it’s particularly important to raise awareness of the symptoms and risk factors of ovarian cancer because this type of cancer is often diagnosed in the later, or more advanced stages of the disease.
What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer? Ovarian cancer often causes symptoms that are similar to other, more common and less serious conditions. This can make it difficult to diagnose early, before the cancer has spread.
The main symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
If you have any of these symptoms for no reason, or you get these symptoms regularly, especially more than 12 times a month, your GP should offer you cancer tests.
Other symptoms may include:
Risk factors and causes of ovarian cancer
We don’t know what causes ovarian cancer. But we do know some risk factors that may increase the chances of it developing. These can include:
It’s important to remember that having a risk factor does not mean you will definitely get cancer. Equally, if you don’t have any risk factors, this does not mean you will not get cancer.
Family history and ovarian cancer risk
If you have a family history of ovarian cancer, you may have a higher risk of developing it yourself.
A small number of cancers that start in the ovaries are linked to a gene mutation. If a family has a gene mutation linked to ovarian cancer, there may be a pattern of cancer in that family.
Several people in the family may be affected by ovarian cancer or related cancers, such as breast, bowel or womb cancer. They may also develop these types of cancer at an unusually young age.
We have more information for people who are worried about a family history of ovarian cancer in our booklet, Cancer genetics: How cancer sometimes runs in families, or in our leaflet Are you worried about ovarian cancer?
If you would like more information about ovarian cancer, you can order our booklet, Understanding cancer of the ovary, fallopian tube or peritoneum or you can read our information online, here.
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