Understanding Ovarian & Prostate Cancer

Ovarian Cancer

What are the symptoms?​

  • Persistent bloating - not bloating that comes and goes
  • Feeling full quickly and/or loss of appetite
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain (that's your tummy and below)
  • Urinary symptoms (needing to wee more urgently or more often than usual)

Occasionally there can be other symptoms

  • Changes in bowel habit (eg diarrhoea or constipation)
  • Extreme fatigue (feeling very tired)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Any bleeding after the menopause should always be investigated by a GP.

Symptoms will be

  • Frequent – they usually happen more than 12 times a month
  • Persistent – they don’t go away
  • New – they are not normal for you

Worried about your symptoms?

If you regularly experience any one or more of these symptoms, which are not normal for you, it is important that you see your GP. It is unlikely that your symptoms are caused by a serious problem, but it is important to get checked out.

Prepare for your GP appointment

Track your symptoms using our free ovarian cancer Symptoms Diary.

Know what's normal for you and keep a diary, noting down which days you get each symptom, and how bad you perceive them to be. Also note down if you think the symptoms are gradually getting worse, or if they are stopping you from doing an activity that you would normally be involved in. You can use this to give your GP detailed information.

Find out about your family history. Tell your GP if two or more relatives in your close family have had ovarian or breast cancer. Read more about family history and hereditary ovarian cancer.

Use our Top ten tips for talking to your GP about ovarian cancer to support you and your GP in communicating more effectively with each other about the symptoms of ovarian cancer (produced in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support.

What tests might your GP do?

  • If your symptoms are frequent and persistent your GP should order a CA125 blood test
  • They may also order ultrasound scans of your tummy and ovaries
  • Find out more about how ovarian cancer is diagnosed

What next?

Ask your GP what the next steps are.

Be persistent! Return to the GP or seek a second opinion within a couple of weeks if your symptoms don't go away.

Other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have symptoms similar to ovarian cancer but if your symptoms don't clear up, go back to your GP or seek a second opinion, even if you've had tests. Take this information, or our symptoms leaflet with you to help you explain (also available in other languages). If you'd like to order symptoms leaflets by post, please visit our materials order form.

The above copy is an extract from the Target Ovarian Cancer website

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Prostate Cancer

What are the symptoms?

Most men with early prostate cancer don’t have any signs or symptoms.

One reason for this is the way the cancer grows. You’ll usually only get early symptoms if the cancer grows near the tube you urinate through (the urethra) and presses against it, changing the way you urinate (pee). But because prostate cancer usually starts to grow in a different part of the prostate, early prostate cancer doesn’t often press on the urethra and cause symptoms.

If you do notice changes in the way you urinate, this is more likely to be a sign of a very common non-cancerous problem called an enlarged prostate, or another health problem. But it’s still a good idea to get it checked out.

Changes include

  • difficulty starting to urinate or emptying your bladder
  • a weak flow when you urinate
  • a feeling that your bladder hasn’t emptied properly
  • dribbling urine after you finish urinating
  • needing to urinate more often, especially at night
  • a sudden urge to urinate – you may sometimes leak before you get to the toilet

If prostate cancer breaks out of the prostate (locally advanced prostate cancer) or spreads to other parts of the body (advanced prostate cancer), it can cause other symptoms, including:

  • back pain, hip pain or pelvis pain
  • problems getting or keeping an erection
  • blood in the urine or semen
  • unexplained weight loss

These symptoms can also be caused by other things that aren’t prostate cancer, like prostatitis (infection and swelling of the prostate), diabetes, or some medicines. But it’s still a good idea to get any symptoms checked out by your GP so they can find out what’s causing them and make sure you get the right treatment if you need it.

The above copy is an extract from the Prostate UK website

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