Most women are unaware of the key symptoms of ovarian cancer (Composite: Mark Hall / JPIMedia)

Ovarian cancer symptoms: key signs of disease amid warnings GPs dismiss symptoms too quickly

Ovarian cancer kills around a third of women in the first year after diagnosis, but early diagnosis can mean it is more treatable

Most women are unaware of the key symptoms of ovarian cancer and GPs often dismiss the signs too quickly, a charity has warned.

Target Ovarian Cancer polled 1,000 and found that 79% of women did not know that bloating is a key symptom, 68% were unaware that abdominal pain is a sign and 97% did not know feeling full is another.

As many as 99% of women did not know that needing to pee more urgently is a symptom, while some 40% incorrectly believed ovarian cancer can be detected by screening for cervical cancer.

Evidence also suggests that women can often mistakenly be told that their symptoms are a sign of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Ovarian cancer kills around a third of women in the first year after diagnosis and is often detected in the late stages, but early diagnosis can mean it is more treatable.

Around 7,500 new cases are recorded in the UK each year and while it can impact anyone with ovaries, it mostly affects those over the age of 50.

Annwen Jones, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said: “These figures are incredibly disappointing.

“We know we’ve shifted the dial in the past 10 years through the dedication of thousands of Target Ovarian Cancer’s campaigners, but it is not enough.

“Knowing the symptoms is crucial for everyone. We need to make sustained and large-scale government-backed symptoms campaigns a reality.

“Progress is possible. If we do this, fewer people will be diagnosed late, fewer will need invasive treatment, and, ultimately, fewer will die needlessly from ovarian cancer.”

Signs of ovarian cancer can appear early on and while symptoms may be caused by other conditions, women are advised to get checked by a GP as the earlier cancer is diagnosed, the more treatable it will be. Listed are 10 key warning symptoms of the disease women should look for.

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