March 2022 is Ovarian and Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and at Ison Harrison we are raising awareness of the importance of early diagnosis of ovarian and prostate cancer, and helping you to spot the signs and symptoms.
In the UK 7,400 women are diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer each year, but Prostate Cancer is even more common, with an average of 47,500 men contracting Prostate Cancer each year, and 11,500 dying each year. As well as raising awareness and vital research funds, the aim of the awareness month is to:
- Reduce cases of late diagnosis through recognising the signs earlier
- Improve treatment of both types of cancer
- Improve support for people diagnosed with each type of cancer
What is Ovarian Cancer?
This is a type of cancer arising from the cells in and around the ovary and fallopian tubes in a woman. There are many different types of ovarian tumours which differ in symptoms and severity, and are classified by the types of cells and tissue they originate from. Age can influence your susceptibility to these tumours and the type of tumour you have will also affect the type of treatment you receive.
What are the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?
If you are showing the signs of Ovarian Cancer you may have:
- Increased abdominal size and persistent (rather than occasional) bloating
- Regular and persistent pelvic and abdominal pain
- A change in bowel or bladder habits which cannot be explained
- A loss of appetite or feeling full quickly after eating
- Feeling tired all the time
- Losing weight without trying
Although these symptoms are very common and can be caused by many different condition it is still important to get them checked by a GP, because if they’re caused by cancer, and earlier diagnosis can lead to a better prognosis.
How is Ovarian Cancer diagnosed?
Usually a blood test and a scan will be done first, but other tests such as CT scans, biopsy, laparoscopy or laparotomy are often needed to diagnose ovarian cancer. It is important to note that a Pap smear does not detect ovarian cancer.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the prostate, which is a small walnut-shaped gland found only in men, and which produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, and can grow slowly and be relatively harmless requiring minimal treatment, or can grow quickly and be very aggressive.
What are the symptoms of Prostate Cancer?
If you are showing the signs of Prostate Cancer you may have:
- Difficulty starting to urinate or straining to empty your bladder
- Feeling that you haven’t emptied your bladder properly
- Needing to urinate more often, particularly at night
- Being unable to control when you urinate
- Finding blood in your urine or in your semen
- Bone and back pain
- A loss of appetite
- Pain in the testicles
- Losing weight without trying
How is Prostate Cancer diagnosed?
A GP is likely to ask for a urine sample to check for infection, take a blood sample to test your level of Prostate-Specific antigens (PSA) (this is called PSA testing) and examine your prostate. The GP will assess your risk of having prostate cancer and if you are at risk you will be referred to hospital to discuss the options of further tests such as an MRI scan or biopsy.
Why is the awareness month important?
The awareness month is an opportunity for people to seek critical advice and information, primarily where:
- You are worried you may be showing the symptoms
- You have been recently diagnosed
- Your cancer may have returned
- Your type of cancer is incurable
- You are living with someone or have a family member facing any of the above scenarios.
However young or old you are, it is vital that you are fully informed and are ready to act if you are showing any of these symptoms, so the awareness month and the programme of events involved are a crucial link to the information and advice you may need.
If you think you are showing symptoms of Ovarian or Prostate Cancer, contact your medical professional as soon as possible. If you have received a late diagnosis or an incorrect diagnosis, we can provide the professional and compassionate support you need. Call our medical negligence team today on 0113 284 5000.