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05th May 2016

Irish Women Urged to Look For These Signs of Ovarian Cancer

Cassie Delaney

A new Irish campaign is urging women not to ignore the common symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Breakthrough Cancer Research (Breakthrough), in conjunction with OvaCare, Emer Casey Foundation and SOCK, today launched the BEAT Ovarian Cancer Campaign to highlight the key signs of the disease in the run up to World Ovarian Cancer Day on 8th May.

The BEAT Ovarian Cancer Campaign is telling women to know their bodies and look out for the early signs. It says if any of these symptoms persist for three weeks or longer you should seek medical attention:

  • 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.

They advise talking to your GP if you suffer from any of the above.

The symptoms of ovarian cancer can be confused with other illnesses but the key difference is that these symptoms are persistent and do not come and go. The BEAT campaign is encouraging women to be aware of changes in their stomach, pelvis and abdomen and to speak to a GP where they are concerned.

Kate McNamara, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and is now in remission is encouraging women to pay attention to their bodies.

“Tackling ovarian cancer forced me to switch from the role of ringleader to that of spectator. Once I was in treatment there was not much I could control and yet ovarian cancer can be beaten if you spot the signs early enough and listen to your body,” she explained.

“Having gone through the devastation of the diagnosis, the importance of time loomed large for me. Do not allow time to slip by, by making excuses. If you are not happy, if there is something niggling you, have it checked without delay.”

Ovarian cancer is the fourth most common female cancer in Ireland. Each year in Ireland, approximately 360 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 276 women die from the disease. Symptoms can be similar to other conditions, which can lead to late stage diagnosis.

While there have been many advances in the diagnosis and treatment of many other cancers, ovarian cancer has had little improvement in its prognosis over the last 20 years.

Seamus Carr, whose wife Brid passed away from ovarian cancer, feels research is the future. He said: “Brid wanted every women to be aware of the signs of ovarian cancer and to know what to do if they were concerned.

“After Brid passed away, our family and friends felt very strongly that research into ovarian cancer was as important as awareness, which is why we wanted to support the new Ovarian Cancer Research Fellowship at Breakthrough’s research centre in Cork. We do not want other families to go through the devastating loss of a loved one because of a disease that can, and should, be beaten.”