Make some noise for a worthy cause

Published: Wednesday 1st March 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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March is the month to “start making noise”.

This is the slogan of Target Ovarian Cancer, which targets three of the biggest barriers to progress: late diagnosis, limited choice of treatments, and the isolation so often felt by women with ovarian cancer.

The time of diagnosis makes a significant difference. When a woman is diagnosed at the earliest stage, her chance of surviving ovarian cancer for five years or more doubles from just 46% to more than 90%.

To really bring the issue to the public’s attention, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month runs throughout March. During this time, the charity supplies everything you need to raise awareness, from social media images to fundraising packs.

Throughout the year, Target Ovarian Cancer works with sufferers, their families and friends, the media, politicians, policy makers, healthcare practitioners and others in the field to deliver change.

With activity taking place across Hull and East Yorkshire, we spoke to a local expert about the subject.

Dr. Laura Percy is a consultant in sexual and reproductive health at City Health Care Partnership CIC:

“Ovarian cancer can have a number of symptoms. If these symptoms are frequent (happening more than 12 times a month), persistent (not going away) and new (they are not normal for you and may have started in the last year), you should visit your GP and get checked out.”

Symptoms can include any of the following:

— Persistent pelvic or abdominal pain (your tummy and the area below)

— Increased abdominal size or 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,” says Laura, “such as changes in bowel habits, extreme fatigue, unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite. Plus any post-menopausal bleeding should always be investigated by a GP.”

Sometimes a cancer gene can be present in a family. However, this is only likely if one of the following applies:

— There are two or more close relatives on the same side of the family (your mother’s or your father’s side) with the same type of cancer, or with particular types of cancer that are known to be linked – for example, breast and ovarian cancer or bowel and womb cancer

— Cancers are occurring at young ages (before the age of 40)

— A close relative has had two different types of cancer (rather than one cancer that has spread)

Conifer Sex and Reproductive Healthcare comes under CHCP’s wide list of services. Based in the Wilberforce Health Centre in Hull, its specialist team offers advice, treatment and support on gynaecological problems and issues. These are delivered alongside specialist menopause care and contraceptive advice.

Additionally, Conifer’s community gynaecology service covers management of menopause, PMS, period problems, pelvic pain and some urinary problems.

Whilst some treatments can be performed at Conifer, others are referred to the Women and Children’s Hospital based at Hull Royal Infirmary, or the Women’s Unit based at Castle Hill Hospital.

For those looking to run a quick home check for peace of mind, there’s the 60-second BEAT test (Bloating, Eating difficulties, Abdominal and pelvic pain, Talking). This asks five simple questions about your health, family history and related symptoms. It can be accessed for free on the NHS Choices website.

If you’d like to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer and start making noise, please visit Target Ovarian Cancer. Join people of every age, background and gender to spread the word, raise money and save lives.

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Published: Wednesday 1st March 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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