Nine signs of ovarian cancer that women should not ignore including some little-known symptoms

Experts have listed the main signs of ovarian cancer
Experts have listed the main signs of ovarian cancer -Credit:Getty Images

Health experts have outlined nine warning signs of ovarian cancer that women should be aware of.

Ovarian cancer is the sixth most deadly form of the disease in women in the UK, causing around 4,100 deaths every year. It is sometimes called a 'silent killer', as symptoms often only appear when the disease has progressed and it is harder to cure.

Two-thirds of women are diagnosed only after the disease has reached the later stages. And studies have shown that 44% of GPs mistakenly believe that symptoms of the disease are only detectable once the cancer has advanced, according to charity Target Ovarian Cancer.

Dr Frankie Jackson-Spencer said: "Ovarian cancer often goes undiagnosed until it reaches the late stage due to its symptoms being vague and often overlapping with common/less serious conditions." If diagnosed at the earliest stage, survival of ovarian cancer skyrockets to 90%, compared to just 31% when diagnosed at stage 4, reports the Mirror.

The NHS says: "It's important to get any symptoms of ovarian cancer checked as soon as possible. Finding it early can mean it's more treatable."

The NHS lists feeling bloated and experiencing a swollen tummy as common warning signs, but Dr Jackson-Spencer suggests there are a number of other symptoms to look out for, including but not limited to "abdominal pain" and "loss of appetite". Unusual vaginal bleeding, fatigue and the frequent need to urinate are also red flags.

Ovarian cancer symptoms could include:

  1. Bloating

  2. Feeling full quickly

  3. Loss of appetite

  4. Abdominal pain

  5. Frequent need to urinate

  6. Abnormal vaginal bleeding

  7. Unexplained tiredness

  8. Unexplained weight loss

  9. Change in bowel habits

Just one in five UK women can name bloating as one of the main symptoms of the disease, highlights Target Ovarian Cancer. Dr Jackson-Spencer said: "Unlike cervical and breast cancer there aren't robust screening tests for ovarian cancer.

"So it’s important to get any symptoms checked out by a doctor. Your GP might want to do a blood test, internal examination or refer you for an ultrasound scan." She added: "If caught early, ovarian cancer can be less serious, that’s why it's super important to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible."