Another early sign of ovarian cancer is pelvic or abdominal pain, or urinary issues.
To expand on urinary issues, the key sign is whether you feel the need to wee more urgently, or find yourself going more often than usual.
Occasionally, there might be other changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhoea and constipation.
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The longer the disease is left to take hold of the body, the harder it’ll be to treat.
The charity offer a free ovarian cancer Symptoms Diary – available as an app on a smart phone or to print out.
Target Ovarian Cancer encourage patients to request a CA125 blood test from their doctor.
However, a raised CA125 blood profile doesn’t guarantee you have the disease, as it can be caused by the following:
A GP should refer you to have an ultrasound scan to further investigate signs of ovarian cancer.
If you’re diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you’ll be told which stage of the disease you have.
- Stage 1 – the cancer only affects one, or both ovaries
- Stage 2 – the cancer has spread from the ovary and into the pelvis or womb
- Stage 3 – the cancer has spread to the lining of the tummy, the surface of the bowel or to the lymph glands in the pelvis or tummy
- Stage 4 – the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver or lungs
The cancer will also be given a grade, which describes how quickly the cancer is likely to grow and spread.
Grade one means the cancer is likely to grow more slowly, whereas grade three means it’s likely to grow more quickly.
“The treatment for ovarian cancer depends on how far it has spread, your general health and whether you’re still able to have children,” said the NHS.
Treatments can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and medications.