Topic: Health

Women encouraged to check for signs of ovarian cancer

One woman every 48 hours dies of ovarian cancer in New Zealand, yet most women are unaware of the symptoms.

The New Zealand Gynaecological Cancer Foundation (NZGCF) is urging women to become more aware and educated about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is the biggest killer among gynaecological cancers and the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in New Zealand.

Gynaecological cancers are internationally symbolised by the colour teal. This February, the NZGCF is asking people to 'Turn it Teal' by hosting their own event at work or home to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer.

NZGCF Ambassadors TV veteran Peter Williams and businesswoman Sharon Hunter are passionate about increasing awareness of ovarian cancer and will be speaking at events in February about their personal connections to the foundation.

NZGCF General Manager Bridgette Jackson says, “A major issue is that the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer may be attributed to less serious causes, so it’s really important for women to visit their doctor if they notice anything out of the ordinary which persists for more than two weeks.”

There are no screening programmes for ovarian cancer, therefore knowing the signs and symptoms with early detection is important. 

The BEAT acronym is used to make women aware of the symptoms. 

B is for bloating that is persistent and doesn't come and go

E is for eating less and feeling fuller

A is for abdominal pain

T is for telling your GP

Other symptoms include a change in bowel habits, increased urgency or frequency of urination and fatigue.