When Cheryl experienced changes in her bowel habits, indigestion and nausea, she brushed them off as something else.
After becoming violently ill during a rum tasting, Cheryl saw her GP who advised her to have a CT scan. The results confirmed that she had ovarian cancer.
“Looking back, I was experiencing symptoms long before my diagnosis, but I ignored them”. Cheryl says.
Ovarian cancer is the ninth most common cancer in females in Australia, with around 1700 women expected to be diagnosed each year. It’s known as a silent killer as it’s hard to detect in its early stages.
If you have any of these symptoms and they are new for you, are severe or continue for more than a few weeks, it is best to have a check-up. Keep a note of how often the symptoms occur and make an appointment to see your general practitioner.
If your doctor suspects you have ovarian cancer, they will usually start with a pelvic examination, followed by tests and scans.
Thanks to the generous support of the Fussell Family Foundation, Cancer Council’s Ovarian Research Team is responding with a range of initiatives to build a stronger evidence base, to support improvements in the way healthcare is delivered for women with, and at risk of, ovarian cancer.
Simultaneously, the Group is analysing data from NSW’s ground-breaking ‘45 and Up Study’ and linked data on healthcare usage to ascertain the direct health system costs of ovarian cancer and to gain a more accurate picture of the way ovarian cancer diagnoses are happening at present.
This work provides valuable clues as to why women routinely remain undiagnosed until their ovarian cancer is dangerously advanced, guiding better policy and practice changes to improve outcomes and save lives.