Friday 23 February 2018

Campaign highlights symptoms of 'silent killer' ovarian cancer which 266 Irish women die from annually

Dr. Sharon McKenna, Chloe Falvey and Tracey O'Donovan, Breakthrough Cancer Research funded researchers, at Cork Cancer Research Centre, pictured at the launch of BEAT Ovarian Cancer Campaign
Dr. Sharon McKenna, Chloe Falvey and Tracey O'Donovan, Breakthrough Cancer Research funded researchers, at Cork Cancer Research Centre, pictured at the launch of BEAT Ovarian Cancer Campaign

Kathy Armstrong

Persistent bloating and abdominal pains are some of the symptoms of "silent killer" ovarian cancer that shouldn't be ignored, a new campaign has warned.

Ovarian cancer is the fourth most common female cancer in Ireland - approximately 361 women here are diagnosed with it every year and some 266 die from it annually.

Breakthrough Cancer Research, OvaCare, Emer Casey Foundation, SOCK and the Marie Keating Foundation today launched the BEAT Ovarian Cancer Campaign to highlight the symptoms ahead of World Ovarian Cancer Day on Monday.

The initiative is urging women to be aware of changes in their stomach, pelvis and abdomen and to contact their doctor if they are concerned.

They said you should seek medical advice if you have any of the following three signs for three weeks or longer:

  • Bloating that is persistent and doesn’t come and go  
  • Eating less and feeling full more quickly
  • Abdominal and pelvic pain you feel most days

Then talk to your GP about your symptoms.

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

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June Feeney, co-founder of OvaCare, said: "It is vital that every woman should know the BEAT symptoms.  At OvaCare, the women we support are among the greatest advocates you will find for this disease. 

"Living with ovarian cancer themselves, they want their voices and experiences to be heard so that other women will learn the symptoms. 

"We are thankful to be celebrating WOCD and wish for anyone feeling alone on this journey to know that our support is always here for them."

The campaign highlights that while the symptoms are similar to ones associated with other conditions, they are persistent and won't come and go.

They say that these similarities can lead to late stage diagnosis, which is why ovarian cancer has been dubbed the "silent killer" and has also affected the rate of improvement in prognosis and treatment.

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Dr Sharon McKenna, Principal Investigator at Cork Cancer Research Centre, said she hopes this will change.

She said: "It is only through increased awareness for earlier diagnosis and research for new treatment options that changes in the prognosis of ovarian cancer will take place.

"We hope that through our research into ovarian cancer we can impact on the lives of women who are diagnosed with this form of cancer."

Two free public awareness events will be held on Monday:

Dublin: Lunchtime Free Seminar on Ovarian Cancer in the Science Gallery, Dublin between 1 – 2 pm. RSVP shotoole@tcd.ie

Cork Event: Evening Free Seminar on Ovarian Cancer in the Western Gateway Building on Western Road, between 6-7.30pm. Tours of Cork Cancer Research Centre available after the seminar. RSVP jill@breakthroughcancerresearch.ie

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