Needing to use the toilet more often than usual is a symptom of ovarian cancer. Findings of a new survey, however, have revealed that only 1 percent of women are aware of this warning sign.
Poor Awareness Of Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
A poll conducted by Target Ovarian Cancer showed that the common symptoms of the condition, such as feeling full and abdominal pain, are not widely recognized. Only a fifth of the 1,000 women surveyed were able to identify frequent bloating as a symptom of the disease. Only one in 100 women were aware that needing the loo could be a sign of the condition.
John Butler, a gynecological oncology surgeon, said that the problem with the symptoms of ovarian cancer is that they are not specific. Most of the sufferers do not get an accurate diagnosis until it is too late because of the commonality of the symptoms. Some women may not even experience symptoms.
Target Ovarian Cancer hopes to raise awareness about the common symptoms of the disease that women can spot themselves, so they can seek help early.
Ovarian Cancer Research
The UK-based charity said that research on ovarian cancer lags behind other forms of cancer, noting of a serious drop in funding for ovarian cancer research amid a projected increase in incidence rates of the disease.
"So much in our everyday lives as been transformed in the past 20 years, yet women with ovarian cancer only have access to treatments discovered decades ago, with one or two exceptions. This is not good enough," said Target Ovarian Cancer's Scientific Advisory Board chair Ruth Plummer.
Ovarian cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer affecting women. In the UK, 11 women die of the disease per day. Figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed the disease is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. In 2014, more than 14,000 women in the United States died from the disease.
Signs and symptoms that may indicate ovarian cancer include vaginal bleeding, especially for women who are past menopause, abnormal vaginal discharge, pain or pressure in the pelvic area, back or abdominal pain, bloating, and change in bathroom habits such as more urgent and more frequent need to urinate.
"Pay attention to your body, and know what is normal for you. If you have unusual vaginal bleeding, see a doctor right away," the CDC advised. "If you have any of the other signs for two weeks or longer and they are not normal for you, see a doctor. They may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see a doctor."