Ovarian and prostate cancer - do you know the warning signs?

Talk to your doctor if you are concerned

Talk to your doctor if you are concerned - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Two UK cancer charities are raising awareness this month to help men and women in Suffolk safeguard their health.

Have you got any unusual symptoms?

Have you got any unusual symptoms? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

March is the national month for Prostate Cancer Awareness and Ovarian Cancer Awareness and the focus is on improving early diagnosis and raising funds for life-saving research.

Ovarian Cancer

Target Ovarian Cancer is the UK’s leading ovarian cancer charity and this month they are running a campaign to encourage women to ‘shout’ about the symptoms using the tag #StartMakingNoise.

Every year 7,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The sooner it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat but only three per cent of women in the UK feel very confident about naming an ovarian cancer symptom.

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What are the symptoms?

• Persistent pelvic or abdominal pain (that’s your tummy and below)

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• Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating – not bloating that comes and goes

• Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly

• Needing to wee more urgently or more often than usual

• Occasionally there can be other symptoms such as changes in bowel habits, extreme fatigue (feeling very tired), unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite.

If you experience these symptoms regularly - 12 times a month - and they are not normal for you – visit your GP. It is unlikely that your symptoms are caused by a serious problem, but it is important to get checked out.

Target Ovarian Cancer’s chief executive, Annwen Jones, says: “Late diagnosis of ovarian cancer is a major issue for women with ovarian cancer and their families. Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month gives us all an opportunity to come together to make women and GPs more aware of the symptoms and the vital importance of early diagnosis.

“It’s so essential that we all work together to make sure every woman has the best chance of survival. Let’s make 2016 our most eventful year yet!”

For more information visit their website.Prostate Cancer

This month, Prostate Cancer UK is working with Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling to raise money to beat the disease which kills one man every hour. From March 21 - 30 Jeff is walking 10 marathons in 10 days, from Hartlepool United to Wembley Stadium, and so far has raised over £100,000. You can follow his progress on Twitter using #JeffsMarch.

Stelling said: “I deal in statistics – but the ones we are dealing with here are shocking. One man dies every hour from this disease, that’s six in the course of Soccer Saturday every week. One in eight men will get prostate cancer, and for black men the odds are even worse at one in four.

“Prostate cancer is not discerning. It doesn’t just hit the bad guys; it’s the good guys as well. I’ve got friends such as Sky Sports rugby league colleagues Bill Arthur and Eddie Hemmings who I have known longer than I care to remember. Both are great guys who have been affected by prostate cancer and I’ll be meeting more men like them along the way.

“I need everyone to support me and all the men affected by prostate cancer by visiting menunitedmarch.org and pledging their support.”

Prostate Cancer UK have put together a plan to tame prostate cancer in the next 10 years, focusing on better diagnosis, better treatment, better prevention and better support.

Their website states: “Men affected by prostate cancer tell us one of the biggest problems we need to fix is diagnosis. Today, in 2016, we can’t tell at the point of diagnosis if any prostate cancer found needs urgent treatment or can be left alone.”

Prostate cancer doesn’t always cause symptoms but changes to look out for include:

• Needing to urinate more often than usual, including at night

• Difficulty starting to urinate

• Straining or taking a long time to finish urinating

• A weak flow when you urinate

• A feeling that you’re not emptying your bladder fully

• Needing to rush to the toilet – sometimes leaking before you get there

• Dribbling urine after you finish

Less common symptoms include pain when urinating or ejaculating, blood in urine or semen and problems getting or keeping an erection. These can also indicate other health issues and should be seen by a doctor.

Most men with early prostate cancer don’t have any symptoms but if you’re worried about your risk or are experiencing any symptoms, visit your GP.

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