Smiley Movement logo

What to know about ovarian cancer

Words by Cheyanne Bryan

As the name suggests, Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the ovaries, which are part of the female reproductive system. Statistics found on Target Ovarian Cancer’s website states that over 7,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. While early detection leaves room for adequate treatment, if not,  it can be serious and potentially life threatening. This World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day we have a short guide to help you learn more about ovarian cancer. 

A type of Gynecologic cancer

There are 5 common types of cancers that affect the female reproductive system: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar, and a rare one that affects the fallopian tubes. Ovarian cancer is often grouped in with cervical cancer but there are important differences. Ovarian cancer occurs in the ovaries – where eggs are produced – while cervical cancer affects the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus, also referred to as the womb. 

Ovarian cancer is also the most under-diagnosed of the two, as it usually does not present early symptoms whilst cervical cancer can be found through a routine smear test. It is important to be aware of the symptoms, and the NHS website advices to see a GP if you have experienced the following symptoms for more than 12 months: 

  • losing weight without trying
  • feeling bloated or have a swollen tummy
  • pain (or tenderness) in your tummy or pelvic area 
  • no appetite or feeling full quickly after eating
  • frequent need to pee
  • indigestion
  • constipation or diarrhoea
  • back pain
  • fatigue 
  • bleeding from the vagina after the menopause

New improvements in treatment 

As of this year, there has been some groundbreaking advancements in the treatment of ovarian cancer in the US. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Elahere (Mirvetuximab Soravtansine-Gynx) to treat people with later-stage and platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. This new treatment targets the specific proteins in the cancer to reduce the rate of the cancer resurfacing after treatment.  

Charity check-in

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article. 

Ovacome. This is a national charity that provides expert support and information to those affected by ovarian cancer. Learn more here.

Cancer Research UK. This is a world-leading charity that specialises in research of all kinds of cancers that goes into global knowledge of treating the condition. Find out more here.

Target Ovarian Cancer. This charity works across the UK with those affected by an ovarian cancer diagnosis, as well as health professionals to find out how they can be of support. Support them here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

You might also like…