Dr. Sharon McKenna and Tracey O'Donovan, Breakthrough Cancer Research funded researchers with Chloe Falvey, pictured at Cork Cancer Research Centre to launch the BEAT Ovarian Cancer Campaign, highlighting the key signs of ovarian disease. (Picture: Jim Coughlan) 

With their BEAT Ovarian Cancer Campaign Breakthrough Cancer Research, OvaCare, the Emer Casey Foundation, SOCK and the Marie Keating Foundation are asking women across Ireland not to ignore the warning signs of ovarian cancer, a disease commonly known as a silent killer.

Ovarian cancer is the 4th most common female cancer in Ireland – approximately 361 women are diagnosed each year, with 266 women losing their lives due to the disease.

The BEAT Ovarian Cancer Campaign is advising women across Ireland that they can BEAT Ovarian Cancer by knowing their bodies, knowing the signs and getting help at an early stage if they have any of the following signs for three weeks or more, then talk to your GP about your symptoms:

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.

The symptoms of ovarian cancer can be confused with other illnesses. However, the key difference is that these symptoms are persistent and do not come and go.

The BEAT campaign is encouraging women to be aware of changes in their stomach, pelvis and abdomen and to speak to a GP where they are concerned.

Symptoms can be similar to other conditions, which can lead to late stage diagnosis and has led to the disease being known as the ‘silent killer’.

While there have been many advances in the diagnosis and treatment of many other cancers, ovarian cancer has had little improvement in its prognosis over the last 20 years.

Principal Investigator at Cork Cancer Research Centre, Dr Sharon McKenna, states, “It is only through increased awareness for earlier diagnosis and research for new treatment options that changes in the prognosis of ovarian cancer will take place. We hope that through our research into ovarian cancer we can impact on the lives of women who are diagnosed with this form of cancer.”