herald

Sunday 10 December 2017

Do not ignore bloating -- it may be cancer

It's a cancer that's known as 'the silent killer' because of the difficulty recognising early symptoms.

Just one-in-three women will survive five years after having it diagnosed.

And that's because by the time a woman gets a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, it's often at an advanced stage.

But now experts believe survival rates may be improved by women paying attention to certain aches, pains and persistent bloating that could be warning signs of the onset of ovarian cancer.

Only 3pc of women said they were very confident of recognising a symptom of the cancer, according to research which suggests many are putting themselves at risk of an avoidable death. Although awareness of other cancers, such as breast and testicular, has improved significantly following public health campaigns, awareness of ovarian cancer remains low.

Typically, it is diagnosed at a much later stage than other cancers, making it difficult to treat.



DYING

Annwen Jones, the chief executive of UK charity, Target Ovarian Cancer, said: "Women are dying needlessly every day because they didn't know the symptoms of the disease before they were diagnosed with advanced cancer.

"Had it been caught at an earlier stage their chances of surviving five years would almost have doubled,"

At present, only 36pc of women will survive five years after a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, because it is advanced.

Almost one third of cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed at hospital in A&E, according to the National Cancer Intelligence Network.

GPs have believed that ovarian cancer has no obvious early symptoms.

Valuable treatment time has been lost in misdiagnosis, which includes bowel cancer, kidney infections, irritable bowel syndrome and poor diet.

Last year Britain's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued guidelines in recognising the cancer in women. Key symptoms include feeling bloated, becoming full too quickly, needing to urinate frequently or urgently and suffering abdominal pains.

jlast@herald.ie

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