Ovarian cancer: do you know the symptoms?

19 February 2018 | Cancer Council NSW

Each year in Australia, about 1,400 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It is the eighth most common cancer in women in Australia. Sadly, ovarian cancer survival rates are still low – only 44 per cent of women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer will survive for five years.

Why is survival so low? Ovarian cancer may not cause symptoms in its early stages, which means the cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage. This can be more difficult treat successfully if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Can women do anything to reduce their risk of ovarian cancer?

To help prevent ovarian cancer, women should be aware of the signs and symptoms, eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and maintain a healthy body weight.

While the symptoms of ovarian cancer can be vague and hard to recognise, it’s important for women to be aware of them.

 Ovarian cancer symptoms

 Women should see a doctor if they experience symptoms including:

  • A swollen, bloated abdomen
  • Pressure, discomfort or pain in the abdomen or pelvis
  • Heartburn and nausea
  • Changes in toilet habits
  • Tiredness and loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • Changes in menstrual pattern or postmenopausal bleeding
  • Pain during sex


Support for women with ovarian cancer

Cancer Council NSW’s can assist throughout the cancer journey – from diagnosis through to treatment and life after cancer.

Women affected by ovarian cancer can access Cancer Council NSW’s extensive support services. We can help with practical issues such as transport assistance, or financial and legal advice. People affected by cancer can also talk to cancer professionals or connect with people who have had similar experiences.

Cancer Council NSW provides up-to-date, evidence-based information for people who have questions about any aspect of cancer. Women affected by ovarian cancer can call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to speak with a cancer professional, or download the Understanding Ovarian Cancer booklet.