Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Ovarian Cancer and Pasties in the same post - who'd have thought it?

As I mentioned in Sunday's post, this weekend I went to a benefit event held by Ovarian Cancer Action to raise funds for research into ovarian cancer. This 'silent killer' is not a disease that many people think about, and yet it kills far more women each year than cervical cancer. I thought it would be helpful then to list the symptoms, as most of us don't know what to look out for.

The following is quoted from the leaflet I was given at the benefit:

'If you experience any of the following key symptoms on most days of the month, then ask your doctor if they have considered ovarian cancer, since research shows that these symptoms, when very frequent, can help a doctor distinguish between ovarian cancer and other less serious conditions e.g. irritable bowel syndrome.

persistent pelvic and stomach pain
increased stomach size / persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes)
difficulty eating, and feeling full quickly

Any other sudden onset, frequently recurring or numerous symptoms should also be reported to your doctor. Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:

needing to wee suddenly or more often
change in bowel habits
excessive tiredness
back pain'

If you feel like getting involved in supporting this very worthy cause then please check out Ovarian Cancer Action's website where there are lots of ideas on how to help.

And yes, there was burlesque dancing at this event, which for those of you who have never experienced it (like myself pre-Saturday night), features gorgeous ladies who wear big pants but not much more on top than fans and sparkly pasties on their nipples. And I would like to state that before writing this post I had no idea that 'pasties' was the correct name for those interesting nipple covers that look a tad uncomfortable (although who am I to say that, not ever having owned any) and which are sold on the Agent Provacteur website should you not know what on earth I'm on about and want to take a look. (Single Parent Dad etc, settle down).

Isn't it amazing where a straightforward post about ovarian cancer can take you? (And never say my posts are not - occasionally - informative...)


  1. Thank you for that. My MIL has ovarian cancer just now - it's a scary thing.

  2. Those symptoms can of course relate to other things. I have most/all of those symptoms but it is endemetriosis/polycystic ovaries.

  3. Ovarian cancer is one of the hardest to diagnose, as its symptoms are so vague and could cover a number of woman issues. My Aunt died of ovarian cancer and I carry the BRACA 1 gene, so had my ovaries removed last July as a precaution as my lifetime risk of having ovarian cancer was in excess of 60%.

  4. This is a very useful post - as others have said, ovarian cancer is one of the hardest to diagnose. One of my mum's friends had it in her fifties, fortunately she survived but it's a horrible thing.

  5. Dying to make a joke about Cornish pasties, but feeling it might not travel well in print.

  6. Mwa, my best wishes to your Mil and family.

    Peacock, yes of course, those symptoms can mean any number of things, you're absolutely right. I think the thrust of the advice though is to try and eliminate ovarian cancer as a possibility as soon as possible since - like most cancers - the earlier it's caught, the better the chances it's treatable.

    MadHouse, so sorry to hear that this affects your family, although at least you've been able to take action, I guess.

    Liz, it is horrible, although your mum's friend's survival is a positive statistic for a cancer which has one of the lowest survival rates.

    Iota - finally! I thought I was alone in wanting to make that joke. We are sisters in bad taste, I fear...

  7. Thanks for the very useful advice. Someone I used to work wtih died of ovarian cancer, a horrible disease.

  8. Being the hypochondriac that I am, I of course now believe all these symptoms are mine. An excellent post raising the profile of this awful disease.
    I wonder if I could get away with wearing pasties to work?

  9. oh dear. I'm going to post a recipe for pasties next. Now all the mental images are wrong...

  10. Thanks More than - and as to the pasties, I'm sure you could, although I wouldn't go for the tassels - I think those are more for evening wear...

    Pig, I'll watch out for that recipe with interest!

  11. Excellent post but will never look at Cornish Pasties in quite the same light....well I will but I will also snigger!

  12. I have to share (not quite) my own story - a decade ago I used to have au pairs. Oh what a jolly group they were - mainly English, Irish and S. African. One night, they were all milling in my kitchen before their 11 o'clock departure for whatever party, and joking about Victoria's swollen belly. I gave her a few laxative -related suggestions but my own au pair phoned her doctor father in England, who said "Get to a Doctor".
    The doctor referred her to a hospital, they opened her up - and closed her back up again. Too late. It's a chance in a million, but there is no age minimum as we learned with Victoria - 23.

  13. Tattie - you and me both.

    EPM, thankyou for that.

  14. Thank you for this post. My brother's wife has terminal ovarian cancer - she was diagnosed just after she turned 30. She has 2 children.

    It's a devasting illness - it was just too late by the time she realised something was wrong. Like Expat mum said in her comment, a few months before she was diagnosed her stomach started to swell so much that she looked pregnant. She thought it was a cyst.

    Of course most women experience these types of symptoms at some point, but it's so important to be aware that ovarian cancer can be a cause of them.

    S x

  15. I feel that I've been so lucky (if having cancer can be lucky of course) as my ovarian cancer was diagnosed, purely by chance, very early. If I'd had any of the symptoms I would probably have ignored them. Don't ignore them ladies, and don't let your GP ignore them either. There's as much need for GP education, I suspect, as for educating us non medics.

  16. Solveig, thanks for commenting and sharing your sister in law's story.

    GPM, thankyou too - especially since your experience is of the opposite outcome of OC than Solveig's sister in law.


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