Menopause & Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is a form of cancer, which affects the ovaries; it is often known as the silent killer because it doesn't cause obvious symptoms. Although menopause doesn't directly cause ovarian cancer, the risk of developing ovarian cancer is greater after menopause if you use oestrogen replacement therapy; this relates to long-term use of 10 years or more. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is often used to combat symptoms of menopause; your GP should discuss the possible risks of HRT with you before you decide whether or not to go ahead with treatment.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer

Often, ovarian cancer doesn't cause any clear symptoms and this is why many cases are only diagnosed when cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Possible symptoms may include:

  • abnormal bleeding between periods of after menopause
  • frequent and prolonged episodes of bloating
  • changes in bowel habits
  • pain in the pelvis and abdomen
  • chronic fatigue
  • back pain

There is no way of preventing ovarian cancer, but you can help to ensure any problems are spotted early by reporting suspicious symptoms and signs to your doctor; this is particularly important if you have family history of ovarian cancer.

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