You’re not OVARY-acting. Help Us Help You stay clear of ovarian cancer

Encouragement to speak to your GP if you have abdominal pain for three weeks or more as it could be a sign of cancer

People in Lancashire and South Cumbria are being urged to be alert to the warning signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and contact their GP with any concerns. Early diagnosis saves lives.

Every year in the UK, 7,300 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer – that’s 20 per day. A 2020 report from North West Cancer Research found that in Lancashire, ovarian cancer is 10% higher than the national average. Ovarian cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women. It mainly affects women who have been through the menopause, but it can affect all ages.

Mr Ian Arthur, Clinical Lead for Cancer Services and Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist for Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “If you feel constantly bloated, have a swollen tummy, feel full very quickly when eating, are needing to pee more often than usual or have discomfort in your tummy and pelvic area that lasts for three weeks or more – you should speak to your GP practice.

“You’re not overreacting, because any of these symptoms could be an early sign of ovarian cancer. It’s probably nothing serious, but finding cancer early makes it more treatable so it’s important to not ignore any of these symptoms.”

Dr Martin Hogg, Consultant Clinical Oncologist for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “If you have any symptoms of ovarian cancer that do not go away for three weeks or more, you have a family history of ovarian cancer or you are worried you may be at a higher risk of getting it – please speak to your GP about your concerns.

“The symptoms of ovarian cancer are not always easy to recognise because some are similar to those of other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – so it’s really important that you don’t ignore any potential warning signs. If you have already talked to your GP but your symptoms continue or get worse, go back to them to explain this.”

Dr Neil Smith, local GP and Primary Care Director for Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance, said: “Your GP can ​assess you and perhaps run some simple tests to better understand your symptoms. It’s probably not cancer, but getting an early diagnosis could save your life. GPs like me are here to help you.

“GPs are working differently during the pandemic – we are using more phone consultations and online technology to support our patients. ​We can still arrange a face-to-face appointment if needed. Your GP surgery will be using all necessary precautions to reduce COVID risk, and will only invite patients to attend if it is safe to do so. Your NHS is here to see you safely.”

If you need medical help from your GP practice, contact them by phone to be assessed. If you need urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service. If you cannot get help online, call 111. If it is a serious or life-threatening emergency, call 999. If you are told to go to hospital, it is important that you go. You should continue to attend your appointments unless you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or are self-isolating.

Information and advice about ovarian cancer: