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Nine ovarian cancer warning signs you probably didn't know

Knowing the signs & symptoms might just save your life.

A mum and daughter hug and laugh together
A mum and daughter hug and laugh together

February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and across Australia, we're encouraging men and women to use it as a reminder to learn the signs and symptoms in a bid to minimise the impact of the disease.

Ovarian Cancer isn't a silent disease and many women who've been diagnosed report a number of symptoms prior to their diagnosis; so, whether you have a mother, sister or partner, or if you're a woman yourself, here are nine ovarian cancer warning signs from Ovarian Cancer Australia that you need to be aware of.

1. Bloating

If you've noticed that your favourite jeans have gotten a little tight around the waist, but you know that you haven't put weight on anywhere else, it could be a sign of bloating (fluid retention) around the ovaries. Obviously many women experience bloating during their cycle, but when this targeted bloating sticks around, that's when you should investigate further.

2. Abdominal Pain

Cramping or sharp pain from the abdominal or pelvic region can be a sign of ovarian cancer.

3. Spotting

Spotting, or bleeding in between periods is a warning sign of ovarian cancer.

4. Loss of Appetite

Not able to finish the bowl of pasta you used to be able to inhale in one sitting? Loss of appetite, or a general feeling of being 'full' all the time is a symptom of ovarian cancer.

5. Needing to Urinate

Another sign of ovarian cancer is the urge to urinate often and urgently, so if you find yourself rushing to the loo regularly, it might be a good idea to take note and get it checked out.

6. Change in Bowel Habits

Some women with ovarian cancer have reported that they experience constipation, along with bloating and abdominal pain.

7. Unexplained Change in Weight

An unexplained change in weight, whether it be weight loss or weight gain can also be a symptom of ovarian cancer.

8. Back Pain

Tumours from the cancer can grow outside of the ovaries, which can cause back pain.

9. Pain During Sex

If you're suddenly starting to feel pain when you have intercourse, it can be a sign of ovarian cancer.

If you've got concerns about any of these symptoms, or you've started experiencing them a number of times over a four-week period, make sure you book in for a visit with your GP.

At nib, we offer a number of hospital covers that include diagnostic gynaecological procedures and, if required, cancer surgery and in-hospital treatment. To check whether your policy covers ovarian cancer-related treatments, login to your Member Account or call 13 16 42.

*Waiting periods may apply.

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