What are the signs of ovarian cancer?
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Leading charity, Ovarian Cancer Action, noted that 7,500 women each year are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. However, Eliza Esiategiwa – a medical negligence solicitor – is far too aware of when doctors can miss the mark. “You are entitled to bring forward a medical negligence claim if you feel that there has been a late or misdiagnosis of cancer,” Esiategiwa stated. “However, as with most medical negligence cases, you have three years to bring a compensation claim, starting from the date the negligence happened.”
In terms of symptoms, the warning signs to watch out for include persistent bloating, a feeling of fullness, a loss of appetite or abdominal pain that has occurred more than 12 times per month.
“Your GP should arrange a CA125 blood test and possibly an ultrasound scan if you display any persistent symptoms,” said Esiategiwa.
Women over the age of 50, who present with signs of ovarian cancer, should be sent to see a specialist in a hospital.
The Eve Appeal, another leading cancer charity, cautioned that signs of ovarian cancer can be similar to that of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The five main ovarian cancer symptoms:
- Increased abdominal size and persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes)
- Persistent pelvic and abdominal pain
- Unexplained change in bowel habits
- Difficulty eating and feeling full quickly, or feeling nauseous
- Needing to urinate (wee) more regularly.
Other possible indications of ovarian cancer can include: back pain, fatigue, weight loss and pain during sex.
The CA125 blood test
A high level of CA125 in the blood could be indicative of ovarian cancer.
However, there may be a lot of the protein CA125 in the blood due to other conditions such as endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease.
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“If your CA125 level is raised you are likely to be referred for imaging; this is mostly likely to include an ultrasound scan,” the Eve Appeal noted.
An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of your ovaries.
A transvaginal ultrasound (an internal ultrasound) occurs when a probe is inserted into the vagina.
An external ultrasound is when the probe touches and is rolled over the abdomen.
“The image produced can show the size and texture of your ovaries, plus any cysts or other abnormalities that are present,” the charity elaborated.
If ovarian cancer is diagnosed, further tests will reveal how large the tumour is and if the disease has spread elsewhere in the body.
“Most women and people with ovarian cancer will be treated by a combination of chemotherapy and surgery,” said the Eve Appeal.
Is there a national screening for ovarian cancer?
In the UK there is no national screening for ovarian cancer, unlike cervical cancer.
Furthermore, a smear test is not able to pick up signs of ovarian cancer.
If you identify with any of the signs of ovarian cancer, for three weeks or more, then do consult with your doctor.
In terms of your health, it is better to address any niggling health issues before it could become a big problem.
Eliza Esiategiwa is a medical negligence solicitor at Patient Claim Line.
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