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March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

This month is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month which aims to highlight the disease and to encourage people to be more aware of what symptoms to look out for. More women die from ovarian cancer than any other gynaecological cancer.

Did you know that 7,300 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year in the UK? That’s 20 women a day.

It is often diagnosed during its later stages, and so the aim is to raise awareness of its signs and symptoms to help change that. Cancer of the ovary is most common in post-menopausal women, although it can affect women of any age.

What are the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?

Some of the symptoms of ovarian cancer are often the same as for other less serious conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), it can be difficult to recognise the symptoms in the early stages – which is why most women are not diagnosed until the disease has spread.

However, there are four main ovarian cancer symptoms that are more prevalent in women diagnosed with the condition:

  • a swollen tummy or feeling bloated
  • pain or tenderness in your tummy or the area between the hips (pelvis)
  • no appetite or feeling full quickly after eating
  • an urgent need to pee or needing to pee more often

Other symptoms, such as back pain, needing to pass urine more frequently than usual, and pain during sex may be present in some women with the disease. Symptoms can be caused by lots of things, which can make ovarian cancer hard to diagnose. It’s important to be checked by a GP if things don’t feel normal for you, or if any symptoms continue or get worse.

Thanks to modern advances in medical treatment, many people with ovarian cancer can be treated effectively with the right care. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the greater the chance of recovery - which is why misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of cancer is a serious and worrying prospect. Even in cases where the patient has sought medical attention promptly, errors made by medical professionals can result in the diagnosis being delayed or missed altogether, which can put the patient’s health at serious risk.

If you have experienced a delay in diagnosing cancer and believe you are entitled to compensation call us on 0800 027 2557. If you’d prefer to send us a message, please use our online enquiry form or visit our dedicated page on cancer compensation claims here.

Lesley Herbertson, Partner and Senior Clinical Negligence Solicitor here at Potter Rees Dolan, comments:

Sadly there is still evidence that medical professionals are still failing to recognise the early signs of ovarian cancer or to ensure that a patient receives a formal diagnosis and appropriate treatment promptly, with the effect that lives are jeopardised unnecessarily.

At Potter Rees Dolan we have seen many cases in which worrying symptoms, suggestive of a potential diagnosis of cancer, were not acted upon quickly enough by a treating doctor, thus leading to a delay in treatment and a much worse outcome for the patient. Whilst  a patient should seek medical attention as soon as they have any concerns about their health, it is the professional’s responsibility to make a prompt referral for further investigations and to ensure that there is proper follow-up. 

Lesley Herbertson is a Partner in clinical negligence here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about ovarian cancer or indeed any other aspect of clinical negligence and wish to speak to Lesley or any other member of the team, please contact us on 0800 027 2557 or contact Lesley directly.