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World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day: Know the signs and symptoms

May 8 marks World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day. 

While Ireland has a sad and historically negative past regarding female reproductive cancers, but Ireland’s foremost Ovarian Cancer campaigners, researchers and patient advocates are refusing to let tomorrow go by unmentioned. 

In order to raise public awareness of Ovarian cancer, which is described as a silent killer, a number of events are going ahead tomorrow. 


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Ovarian cancer is the 6th most common female cancer in Ireland. Approximately 411 women are diagnosed each year with 272 women losing their lives due to the disease.

Ireland ranks among the highest in the world in terms of mortality from ovarian cancer.

To raise awareness on World Ovarian Cancer Day free public events will be held in Dublin, Cork and Galway tomorrow, here are the details:

Dublin: St. James’ Hospital, CRF Seminar Room, May 8, 9.30 – 11.30 am.

Cork: Western Gateway Building, UCC, May 8. Refreshments 6.30-7pm; Talks 7- 8pm.

Galway: East Galway Cancer Support Centre (in conjunction with the Marie Keating Foundation), Ballinasloe, 6.30pm – 9pm. 


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If you can't make it to the talks, the BEAT Ovarian Cancer Campaign highlights the key signs of the disease, with a handy acronym to help us better remember the signifiers of the disease.  

BEAT Ovarian Cancer by knowing your body, knowing the signs and getting help at an early stage if you have any of the following for three weeks or more:

Bloating that is persistent and doesn’t come and go

Eating less and feeling full more quickly

Abdominal and pelvic pain you feel most days

Toilet changes in urination or bowel habits

Symptoms of Ovarian Caner can be seen as signifiers of other illnesses, so it's extremely important to listen to your body and seek medical advice. 

Breakthrough Cancer Research has created a new video to raise further awareness about this form of cancer.

In the video, Clare woman, Mary McGrath says: "If I had known 10 years earlier that this IBS was not IBS, I probably would have been caught at stage 2 or 1. Symptoms of ovarian cancer can be similar to IBS so it is important to talk to your GP, particularly if you develop IBS symptoms after the age of 50. Ovarian cancer patient and advocate, Anne Herlihy shares her story in the video too. I wish I had known," she said.

"If I could go back and know that that chronic constipation I had for months was a symptom of ovarian cancer, things would be different."

BEAT have also created a video, to help identify the symptoms: 

If you have any concerns about ovarian cancer, you should visit your GP to discuss the issue.

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