Experts are warning women to seek medical attention if they experience bloating regularly as this can make the difference in detecting ovarian cancer before it is too late. As we know, the earlier cancer is detected the likelier one's chances are of surviving the disease.
The impact COVID-19 has had on early cancer detection
With the coronavirus pandemic taking centre stage, less people are seeking medical advice over potential cancer symptoms. The NHS' resources have been stretched thinner than ever before and, as a result, COVID-19 has been prioritized in hospitals everywhere, leaving very little room for other patients to get the care they require.
Oncologist Dr. Karol Sikora explains that, on average, the month of April can see approximately 30,000 people diagnosed with cancer. In 2020 however, things were different. A BBC Spotlight report published last summer showed that there were 7,500 fewer cancer diagnoses and referrals during April and May of 2020 than there were within the same period in 2019.
In England alone, urgent referrals for suspected cancer were down 60% when compared to pre-pandemic times, highlighting the impact COVID-19 has had on cancer diagnoses.
Annwen Jones, Target Ovarian Cancer's charity chief executive, said that:
Women should not be risking their lives because of the enduring awareness gap around the symptoms of ovarian cancer. If women know ovarian cancer symptoms such as persistent bloating and are able to link them to ovarian cancer early on, lives will be saved.
What are some other symptoms you should watch out for?
On average, every year, about 7,400 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 66% of those women were found to have been diagnosed late, which is why experts are urging women to take precaution even if the symptom is commonplace like bloating.
Other symptoms to take into consideration according to doctors are:
- Needing to urinate more frequently
- Losing your appetite or feeling full quickly
- Experiencing pain in your pelvic or abdominal region