Tummy Bloating Can Be Ovarian Cancer
Only a third of women would see a doctor when they experience a major symptom of ovarian cancer, according to the charity Target Ovarian Cancer.
When faced with persistent bloating, 34% of 1,142 females questioned by YouGov said they would visit their GP.
Half said they would change their diet by doing things like cutting out gluten or feeing probiotic yoghurts.
The charity paid particular attention to the “alarmingly low rate of awareness” of bloating as a symptom of cancer.
Previous research by the charity has shown that only one in five women could name it as a symptom.
The survey spoke to women across the UK and asked what they would do if they were “bloated regularly”.
Those polled were allowed to choice more than one option but only 392 indicated that they would volume an appointed with their GP.
‘You never dream it will happen to you’
Laura Everley, who is 38, and from Crawley, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014.
Before she was diagnosed she said she was experiencing all of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, including bloating.
“I thought that maybe I might have irritable bowel disorder because there are similar symptoms.
“I’d even tried running gluten-free, but it had made no change. The idea of cancer hadn’t even entered my head. You merely never dream this is going to happen to you.”
She has now finished treatment and is doing well.
NHS England advice is that anyone who has been feeling bloated most days for the last three weeks should tell their doctor.
Bloating may be caused by other conditions, such as irritable bowel disorder and pre-menstrual disorder, but if it is persistent and doesn’t come and go it should be checked out.
The disease is more likely to develop in girls over 55, but the charity received this age group was the least likely to check symptoms online, so the least likely to educate themselves that it could be ovarian cancer.
In the 18 -2 4 age group 64% indicated that they would do an online search.
The charity said the lack of awareness meant females did not get sent for the correct ovarian cancer exams quickly, so they risked missing out on crucial early diagnosis.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer
Persistent bloating – not bloating that comes and goes Feeling full quickly and/ or loss of appetite Pelvic or abdominal pain( potbelly and below) Urinary symptoms( needing to wee-wee more urgently or more often than usual) Changes in bowel habit( eg diarrhoea or constipation) Extreme wearines( feeling very tired) Unexplained weight loss Any bleeding after the menopause should always be investigated by a GP