For anyone fighting ovarian cancer there is support and advice available at Ovacome, the ovarian cancer support network. Click here to learn more.
Worried about ovarian cancer symptoms? Find out the signs and learn more about cancer of the overies in this short film.
Ovarian cancer is hard to spot. If you have a nagging feeling something is not right, don’t ignore it. Learn more about ovarian cancer diagnosis here.
Have you got any risk factors of ovarian cancer? Are you at risk of developing it? Watch this video to find out more.
Find out what to expect from ovarian cancer treatment and chemotherapy by someone who has gone through it.
The first step in an ovarian cancer diagnosis is often a visit with a GP1. In most circumstances this will involve a discussion of symptoms as well as an abdominal examination. Internal examinations and blood tests are also done by some GPs, whilst others will refer patients for these additional tests along with an ultrasound2.
The majority of ovarian cancers release a protein called CA125 into the bloodstream2. A CA125 blood test will be used as part of a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. However, the CA125 protein is also released for many other conditions of the womb including fibroids and pelvic inflammatory disease, so a blood test alone cannot confirm a diagnosis1. An internal examination, internal or abdominal ultrasound, and sometimes a CT will also be needed to confirm a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer can often feel vague, leading women to ignore them for too long. Here, Jenny describes her experience with getting a diagnosis of cancer:
“Doctors see women of a certain age presenting with certain symptoms and many automatically assume the diagnosis is stress-related rather than symptoms of ovarian cancer. Women are then referred to the wrong type of specialist and spend months visiting gastroenterologists instead of gynecologists. This process costs women valuable time and delays a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.”
“I think women do know their own body. There needs to be more appreciation that women are aware of what is going on inside even if they can't put a label on which bit of them is hurting or what sort of pain it is. If they know something's wrong, they should be taken seriously.”
Jenny’s story highlights the difficulties in diagnosing ovarian cancer. Only 25% of women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the early stages of the disease, when the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body3.
1. Cancer Research UK. 01 November 2010. Website:
2. Ovacome. No date. Website:
3. Ovacome. No date given. Website:
10504 Revised November 2012comments powered by Disqus