March is Ovarian Cancer awareness month and I have been busy taking leaflets describing signs and symptoms plus other useful info to doctors and dentists waiting rooms, libraries and sports centres in my local area.
I have also set up a stand with posters, leaflets, balloons and stickers at my local library and been joined by our MP Ann Coffey who has been very support of our campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer within the general population and in medical practices too.
This ďsilent killerĒ as it has sometimes been called is eminently treatable with very good chances of long term survival if it is diagnosed early. However once it has spread from the ovaries the chances of surviving for 5 years is considerably lessened. Various ovarian cancer charities are calling on the government to implement a screening programme for this potentially deadly cancer as it is fairly easy and cost effective to give women with suspicious symptoms a blood test and ultra sound scan.
The symptoms of ovarian cancer can be hard to detect because they mimic Irritable bowel syndrome and can seem like signs of menopause or period problems. If you get any of these symptoms it is very important that you visit your doctor and ask for tests - bloating and pain in your abdomen, feeling full more easily, loss of appetite, changes in bowel habits, needing to pee more often, pain in sexual intercourse, unexplained weight loss.
These symptoms need to be quite persistent and not just very occasionally occurring. It is better to bother your doctor than wait until it gets really painful.
Unfortunately I used to get IBS when I was stressed and didnít know these symptoms so didnít push for tests until my cancer was large and had spread outside my ovaries. So although I have done really well to survive from summer 2004 to spring 2012 it keeps recurring and has seriously disrupted my life.
There is more information and support available at www.targetovariancancer.org as well as at some other ovarian cancer websites. Please spread the word and letís save some lives.