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25th Oct 2017

Expert warns the need to urinate more can be a symptom of ovarian cancer

Cathy Donohue

symptom of ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer has previously been described as a ‘silent killer’ because many of the symptoms can be mistaken for other illnesses.

In many cases, it is not diagnosed until the advanced stages because the signs often go unnoticed and overlooked.

A recent poll conducted by Target Ovarian Cancer surveyed 1,000 women in the UK and found that only one percent were aware that needing to urinate more frequently can be a symptom of ovarian cancer.

Deputy Director of Services at the charity, Katherine Pinder, spoke to Cosmopolitan about this new research:

 “Needing to wee more often or more urgently – and indeed, all of the symptoms of ovarian cancer – can occur because a mass in the abdominal area is pushing on the surrounding organs, including the bladder. This is similar to what happens when a woman is pregnant and may need to wee more”.

The information collated by Target Ovarian Cancer prompted us to contact the Irish Cancer Society in relation to these findings.

The most recent statistics for ovarian cancer in Ireland show that 380 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Ireland each year. It is estimated that 270 women die from this type of cancer year on year.

Naomi Fitzgibbons, Cancer Nurseline Manager with the Irish Cancer Society says:

“We see that Ireland’s incidence and mortality rates are significantly higher than the European average. However, survival rates are very slowly increasing, about three percent over 15 years and treatment plans and access to support is improving all of the time.

“Over half of women are presenting with ovarian cancer at later stages, due to the issue of identifying the signs and symptoms. Ovarian cancer is traditionally been seen as a cancer with very silent symptoms but there are things to be aware of, such as the BEAT symptoms. I would urge women to listen carefully to their bodies and if they notice any changes at all to go see their GP and talk through their concerns”.

The BEAT symptoms of ovarian cancer are described as follows:

  • Bloating that is persistent and doesn’t come and go
  • Eating less and feeling full more quickly
  • Abdominal and pelvic pain you feel most days
  • Talk to your GP about your symptoms

Deirdre Kelly, a survivor of ovarian cancer has shared her story too:

“I was very lucky, my cancer was diagnosed at Stage 1 and I believe that was down to two things, my own instinct and my GP who was willing to believe that it was serious the first time I mentioned it to him.

I had very few symptoms but in hindsight I knew there was something wrong. I urge all women to listen to their bodies; don’t put unusual aches and pains down to stress or everyday life, if they are unusual and you feel unsettled about them then make sure someone listens to you. I listened to my body, my GP listened to me and I am now a very grateful survivor of Ovarian Cancer”.

Although there are a number of other medical complaints that can cause the above, if you’re experiencing any of these out of the blue, it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor.

For further information, contact Irish cancer support group Ovacare via email at [email protected] or phone on 021 2427892. You can also get in touch with the Irish Cancer Society’s Nurseline on 1800 200 700