What are the signs of ovarian cancer?
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Problems with urinating are most commonly recognised as symptoms of conditions like diabetes and UTIs (urinary tract infections). But the condition could also be a sign of gynaecological cancer – cancer that starts in the female reproductive system. Knowing this sign, and other early signs may be the difference between an early diagnosis and leaving it too late.
There are five main forms of cancer that may cause women to develop an “excessive urge to urinate”, explained one doctor to Express.co.uk
The cancers include cervical, vaginal, womb, vulval and ovarian cancer, identified Doctor Bryony Henderson from the healthcare provider Livi.
According to Cancer Research UK, ovarian cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for women in the UK.
Data from between 2017 and 2019 suggests that it accounts for roughly five percent of cancer deaths for women.
Doctor Henderson said: “This cancer forms on the ovaries, where eggs are stored, and develops from abnormal cells causing a tumour.
“Anyone with ovaries can be affected by this but it usually impacts people over 50.”
The five main gynaecological cancers can cause a wide range of symptoms in the lower half of the body other than excessive urge to urinate.
“Whilst these cancers are different and will affect people differently, some of them can have similar symptoms,” she added.
Pelvic pain, and bloating or stomach pains are common symptoms.
But other symptoms of the cancers include the following, according to Doctor Henderson:
- Lumps or soreness in or around the genital area
- Pain during or after sex
- Vaginal itchiness
- Blood in urine
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge.
She explained that these symptoms aren’t always cancer signs, but they can also be related to less serious infections.
Regardless, she said: “If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it’s always a good idea to get in touch with your doctor who will be able to review your symptoms on an individual basis.”
The risks of having gynaecological cancer are bumped up by several factors, including endometriosis, diabetes and other factors.
Ovarian cancer, for example, is known by health bodies to be more likely for people who have had breast or bowel cancer.
The NHS also explains that people who have inherited a gene called the BRCA genes and genes linked to Lynch syndrome are also more likely to get it.
Moreover, the health body adds that people who receive hormone replacement therapy, are overweight or smoke, are more likely.
‘I’ve spotted symptoms, what’s next?’
Doctor Henderson explained: “There are multiple ways to test for cancer and your GP will be able to refer you onto the right pathway, depending on symptoms and individual circumstances.
“Particularly with more common cancers such as cervical cancer, routine cervical screening can help to prevent late diagnosis of cervical cancer.
“You should automatically be invited by your GP practice from the age of 25 if you are registered female at your surgery.
“The treatments available for gynaecological cancers also differ, with the most common being radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. These will only occur if there is certainty that the patient has cancer.
“The journey that cancer patients endure starts with a diagnosis and the sooner any gynaecological cancer is detected, the better the prognosis usually is.”
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