We all get bloated, whether it's from excess salt, that time of the month, or eating one too many fattening French fries. But even though bloating is an annoying issue women may face daily, it can also be a symptom of ovarian cancer — and the frightening truth is that not enough women may realize that.
In fact, two-thirds of women in the United Kingdom completely disregard their bloating, according to new research from TTarget Ovarian Cancer, the United Kingdom's leading ovarian cancer charity.
This is a problem because the earlier cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance for effective treatment. Approximately 14,080 American women died in 2017 from ovarian cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute, and considering ovarian cancer survival rates are much lower than other cancers that affect women, it's important for women to be proactive about their health and pay attention to persistent signs that something might not be quite right.
“Women should not be risking their lives because of the enduring awareness gap around the symptoms of ovarian cancer,” Annwen Jones, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said in a statement. “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.”
But before you run to your doctor at the first sign of a puffy belly, keep in mind that persistent bloating is a symptom of ovarian cancer, not bloating in general. That's why it's important to pay attention to your body: The next time you feel bloated, think about how long you've been feeling that way — and if it's longer than usual, consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor.
And be sure to spread the word: Target Ovarian Cancer discovered that only one in five women are aware that persistent bloating is a symptom of ovarian cancer. This statistic alone proves that raising awareness about this disease is crucial.
Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
Persistent bloating isn't the only symptom of ovarian cancer. Other symptoms include, but are not limited to:
Loss of appetite
Abdominal or pelvic pain
Unexplained weight loss
If you or someone you know is experiencing one of more of these symptoms, it's important to see a doctor as soon as possible.