Women in the United Kingdom are more likely to consider changing their diet than visiting their general practitioner (GP) when feeling bloated, a study recently found.
Bloating is a major symptom of ovarian cancer. Researchers from Target Ovarian Cancer found that many women may be unknowingly putting themselves at risk by opting to do things like eating more probiotic yogurt or cutting out gluten, rather than visiting their GP once they notice their bloating.
The campaign also aims to inform people about some statistics. In two-thirds of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the cancer has already spread, making it more difficult to treat. Despite these numbers, women in the U.K. do not seem to be well-informed about these symptoms.
In a survey conducted by the organization, about 50 percent of the participants responded they would do something with their diet, whereas only 34 percent said that they would see a doctor if they were concerned about bloating. In previous research, only one in every five women knew persistent bloating could be a symptom of ovarian cancer, which is a strikingly low rate of awareness.
Additionally, Target Ovarian Cancer’s studies also showed that women older than 55 — the ones most likely to develop the disease — are least likely to Google their symptoms, meaning they could be at higher risks of a delayed diagnosis. Just one in three women over 55 (34 percent) would do this, compared to almost two out of three 18-to-24 year old women (64 percent).
These responses could be showing there is a lack of information available for women in the U.K., or that many women are not visiting their GP promptly. Perhaps many also are not being seen for the correct ovarian cancer tests soon enough. The awareness campaign wants to change this scenario as soon as possible.
“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,” Annwen Jones, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said in a story on the website.
Interested persons can join the TAKE OVAR campaign in different ways: they may join the campaign officially through the Target Ovarian Cancer website; they can learn more about the symptoms of ovarian cancer and become an informed friend; or they can donate to help raise awareness and funds to advance research and help deliver critical services to patients and their families.
This year’s motto for the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is to “Start Making Noise.”