Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Can Be Incredibly Vague, Here’s What You Need to Know

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Can Be Incredibly Vague, Here’s What You Need to Know

Ovarian cancer is known as the most lethal gynaecological cancer there is. One woman in Australia dies from this disease every eight hours, and according to data shared by the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF) and Witchery, around 70 per cent of women and people with uteruses are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the late stages.

The data is bleak, but the powerful news to take here is that if detected early enough, the OCRF states that over 90 per cent of patients could be cured.

So, how do we improve the rates of early detection?

Currently, there is no early detection test for ovarian cancer. Unlike cervical cancer screenings or mammograms, the only way to accurately diagnose ovarian cancer is with invasive surgery.

There appears to be a dangerous misconception about this fact. The OCRF shared that 64 per cent of women believe that pap smears can detect ovarian cancer. They don’t.

What this means is that we heavily rely on the presence of symptoms for early detection. That presents another issue, however.

The signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer are subtle

Adding to the list of difficulties presented by this silent and deadly disease is the fact that the symptoms are synonymous with a number of common and not particularly dangerous conditions.

These include:

  • Vague abdominal pain or pressure
  • Feeling of abdominal fullness, gas, nausea, indigestion—different to your normal sensations
  • Sudden abdominal swelling, weight gain or bloating
  • Persistent changes in bowel or bladder patterns
  • Low backache or cramps
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Unexplained weight loss

Before you become too concerned, however, note that the OCRF stated:

“If you have one or two of the listed symptoms, you most likely do not have ovarian cancer. That said, a greater combination of symptoms, or symptoms which persist or are unusual for you, should be investigated by a medical professional.”

So pay attention to your body, and if you’re ever concerned, make an appointment to chat with your GP.

This is why funding is imperative

It may sound surprising, but survival rates for this kind of cancer have not improved in two decades. According to the OCRF, the five-year survival rate for late-stage ovarian cancer is just 29 per cent. This is a pretty clear indication that what is needed here is a better means of diagnosing the disease early.

For that, researchers need funds. This is why organisations like the OCRF and the Ovarian Cancer Research Group, UNSW Medicine are in dire need of support.

Witchery White Shirt Campaign 2023

ovarian cancer 2023 Witchery White Shirt Campaign x Pip Edwards 4
Image supplied

Over the years, Witchery’s White Shirt Campaign has contributed over $15 million to research. One hundred per cent of gross proceeds from White Shirts sold go to the OCRF every year. Impressive, no?

This year’s White Shirt Campaign will see Co-Founder and Creative Director of P.E Nation, Pip Edwards, collaborating with Witchery.

Per a statement from Witchery, the shirt has been designed with Edwards’ “own personal style in mind”.

“Pip has mastered the balance of creating a classic staple with a modern, take, designed to be worn oversized,” the fashion brand shared.

The shirt for 2023 will be available to shop online via witchery.com.au and in-store in Australia and New Zealand from Tuesday, April 11 through to Witchery White Shirt Day and World Ovarian Cancer Day on Monday, May 8.

This article has been updated to reflect the details of the 2023 Witchery White Shirt Campaign for Ovarian Cancer fundraising.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


Leave a Reply