#StartMakingNoise this Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Clinical leaders in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven are supporting the charity Target Ovarian Cancer to encourage local women to shout about the symptoms of ovarian cancer in March.

The causes of ovarian cancer are not yet fully known, but the most important risk factors for the disease are age and a family history of ovarian or breast cancer.

Target Ovarian Cancer is urging people to support its #StartMakingNoise campaign next month to raise awareness and money to support women with ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is most common in women over the age of 50, who have been through the menopause, but can also, less commonly, occur in younger women.

In the UK, around 7,100 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It is the fifth most common cancer among women after breast cancer, bowel cancer, lung cancer and cancer of the uterus (womb).

Start making noise - ovarian cancer awareness month

Figures show that in 2014, the number of local women diagnosed was:

  • Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven: 23
  • Bradford City: between one and five
  • Bradford Districts: 32

Women are often diagnosed late with ovarian cancer, as many of the symptoms are put down to other conditions. The later a woman receives a diagnosis the more difficult treatment can become: so early detection is very important. When a woman is diagnosed at the earliest stage; the chances of surviving ovarian cancer for five years or more doubles from just 46% to more than 90%.

There is no screening test for ovarian cancer, so a woman’s route to diagnosis is key to her survival. However, each year nearly a third of ovarian cancer patients in the UK are diagnosed in A&E.

Dr Ian Fenwick, clinical lead for cancer at the Bradford CCGs, said: “We are supporting Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month to tell women that early detection really does save lives.

“Nationally, there is a low awareness of what the symptoms of ovarian cancer are. Symptoms can include persistent pain in your tummy and below, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, persistent bloating, needing to wee more urgently or more often than usual.

“Other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have symptoms similar to ovarian cancer but if your symptoms don’t clear up, go back to your GP.”

It’s important to see your GP if you experience symptoms, particularly over a long period of time.

Having symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean it is cancer; but you won’t be wasting anyone’s time by getting it checked out and if it’s not serious, your mind will be put at rest.

A trip to your doctor’s surgery could save your life. And if a friend or relative says they have any of these symptoms, tell them to see their doctor.

Visit NHS Choices for more information on the symptoms and treatment of ovarian cancer.

To find out how to support the awareness month, visit the Target Ovarian Cancer website and follow #StartMakingNoise on social media.