Women 'lack awareness' of ovarian cancer symptoms

Women tend not to be aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, which means they "often don't take persistent symptoms seriously" and do not talk to their GP about whether it could be the condition, according to Ovarian Cancer Action.

According to the NHS, symptoms include persistent pelvic and abdominal pain; increased abdominal size or persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes); difficulty eating, and feeling full quickly.

New research from Cancer Research UK has shown that women diagnosed now with ovarian cancer are twice as likely to survive as any sufferers who were told they had the condition in the early 70s.

Peter Reynolds, Ovarian Cancer Action's chief executive, said: "While it is true that ovarian cancer survival rates have almost doubled since the 70s, sadly less than 40 per cent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer today will survive beyond five years."

He said that the UK has some of the lowest survival rates in the western world because large numbers of women are diagnosed when the illness in at an advanced stage which "has spread beyond the ovary".

Further research into the causes and treatment of ovarian cancer needs to be carried out in order to improve awareness and understanding of the condition and help more women survive, added Mr Reynolds.