Comedian Janey Godley has revealed she has ovarian cancer.
In a post on Twitter, she described her shock at the diagnosis saying ‘I’ve done nothing but cry and cry and cry’.
Janey, 60, also urged people to be aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer.
So what are the symptoms you shouldn’t ignore?
What is ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer, or cancer of the ovaries, is one of the most common types of cancer in women.
It is caused when abnormal cells in the ovary begin to grow and divide in an uncontrolled way, and eventually form a growth (tumour).
If not caught early, cancer cells gradually grow into the surrounding tissues and may spread to other areas of the body.
— Janey Godley (@JaneyGodley) November 19, 2021
What causes it?
NHS Inform states the exact cause of ovarian cancer is unknown.
But some things may increase a woman’s risk of getting it, such as:
- being over the age of 50
- a family history of ovarian or breast cancer
- hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – although any increase in cancer risk is likely to be very small
- endometriosis – a condition where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb is found outside the womb
- being overweight
- lack of exercise
- exposure to asbestos
How common is it?
Around 7,400 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK each year. This makes ovarian cancer the 6th most common cancer in women.
Target Ovarian Cancer says 600 women a year in Scotland are diagnosed, with only 46% at an early stage so it’s vital you know the symptoms, whatever your age.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of ovarian cancer can be very vague, particularly when the disease is in its early stages.
- Persistent bloating – not bloating that comes and goes
- Feeling full quickly and/or loss of appetite
- Pelvic or abdominal pain (that’s your tummy and below)
- Urinary symptoms (needing to wee more urgently or more often than usual)
Occasionally there can be other symptoms:
- Changes in bowel habit (eg diarrhoea or constipation)
- Extreme fatigue (feeling very tired)
- Unexplained weight loss
- Any bleeding after the menopause should always be investigated by a GP
Symptoms will be:
- Frequent – they usually happen more than 12 times a month.
- Persistent – they don’t go away.
- New – they’re not normal for you.
When should I go to my doctor?
If you regularly experience any one or more of these symptoms, which are not normal for you, it is important that you see your GP.
It is unlikely that your symptoms are caused by a serious problem, but it is important to be checked out.
- Target Ovarian Cancer has a series of help guides on their website.