A Pap test (cervical smear test) does not detect ovarian cancer.
There is currently no screening test for ovarian cancer. A Pap test detects pre-cancerous changes to cells of the cervix, which is treated much more successfully than ovarian cancer.
Only some women are at risk of ovarian cancer.
All women are at risk of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is diagnosed annually in more than 230,000 women globally. It is important to be aware of symptoms, risk factors and your family history on both your father and mother’s side of the family.
Diagnosing ovarian cancer before it spreads makes it much more treatable.
When ovarian cancer is detected at an early stage – when the cancer remains confined to the ovary – up to 90% of women are likely to survive for more than five years. This compares to 17% surviving five or more years when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. A woman who has symptoms suggestive of ovarian cancer should be referred directly to a specialist to obtain an accurate diagnosis.
Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at an early stage.
Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are commonly experienced in the general population. But letting your doctor know how often you are experiencing symptoms is an important step in helping them know when they should consider ovarian cancer as a possible cause. A symptom diary may be helpful. Increased awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer can make a difference.
Symptom awareness may lead to a quicker diagnosis.
If a woman experiences one or more of the following symptoms frequently, it is important that she discuss them with her doctor.
- Increased abdominal size / persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes)
- Difficulty eating / feeling full quickly
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Needing to pass urine more urgently or more frequently While these symptoms are often associated with more common and less serious conditions, it is better to have them checked out.
Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns about ovarian cancer.
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