Four in five women not confident on ovarian cancer symptoms

by Rachel Cunningham
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Rachel Cunningham

New research has highlighted that four out of five women, 79 per cent, in Ireland are not confident that they would notice a symptom of ovarian cancer, the Irish Network for Gynaecological Oncology has reported.

Ireland has one of the highest death rates from ovarian cancer in Europe, with approximately 400 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year in Ireland and almost 300 women dying from this cancer annually.  

In advance  of World Ovarian Cancer Day this Sunday, May 8, the INGO has launched a campaign to help raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer and encourage women to contact their GP if they are worried, promoting the message that early diagnosis can save lives.  

This is evident in the statistics, as 83 per cent of patients diagnosed with stage one ovarian cancer are alive five years after diagnosis. This is a stark difference when compared with patients diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer, just 16 per cent of whom are alive five years after diagnosis.

The INGO’s campaign centres around the BEAT symptoms: Bloating that is persistent and doesn’t come and go; Eating less and feeling full more quickly; Abdominal and pelvic pain you feel most days; Toilet changes in urination or bowel habits. 

The takeaway is that if you experience any of these symptoms for three weeks or more, you should contact your GP. 

The campaign also seeks to dispel the myth that cervical screening detects ovarian cancer.  

Two leading Irish artists who have joined the campaign are the Poet Laurate for Wexford, Sasha Terfous, who has written and performed a powerful spoken word piece, entitled BEAT, and artist and fashion designer, Helen Steele, who has designed a tote bag and postcard using effective repetition of the word BEAT.

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