Cancer of the ovary affects more common in women who have been through the menopause (usually over the age of 50) but it can affect women of any age.
The symptoms of ovarian cancer can be:
- persistent bloating
- pain in the pelvis and lower stomach
- difficulty eating and feeling full quickly.
Other symptoms can include loss of appetite, weight loss, back pain, pain in the lower abdomen when having sex, passing urine frequently, change in bowel habit such as constipation or diarrhoea and swelling of the abdomen.
An operation is advised in most cases. If the cancer is at a very early stage (just confined to the ovary and not spread) then an operation to remove the affected ovary and associated fallopian tube may be all that is required. If the cancer has spread a more extensive operation is needed. The operation usually involves the removal of both ovaries, womb (uterus), fallopian tubes, lymph nodes and omentum (fatty apron-like tissue in the upper abdomen).
Treatment often includes chemotherapy after surgery and sometimes before surgery as well.