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The 'C' Word: come and post your questions about ovarian cancer for the experts at Ovarian Cancer Action

(35 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Oct-10 11:18:24

Throghout October we're running an awareness-raising campaign on Mumsnet - called The 'C' Word - about the three key cancers which primarily affect women: breast, ovarian, and cervical. The last couple of weeks have seen the breast cancer Q&A (answers will be available shortly), and today we're launching the second Q&A, this time about ovarian cancer, in partnership with Ovarian Cancer Action.

About 6,800 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK each year, but as yet, there's no national screening programme specifically for this form of the disease. So it's really vital that we all know what the symptoms are and when to go to our GP. This is your chance to ask anything about ovarian cancer - symptoms, treatments and research - and have it answered by the experts.

Post your questions by the end of Wednesday please - the team will get the answers back to us as quickly as they possibly can, so do keep an eye out.

Look out our final Q&A on cervical cancer, coming up later in October.

I lost my best friend to Ovarian Cancer, aged 24. Many of the health professionals she came in to contact with in the run up to her diagnosis never looked into a pelvic exam or scan as Ovarian Cancer 'doesn't happen to young people'. If someone is concerned about their symptoms, and they are under 50, how can they make sure that ovarian cancer is an option that is investigated? By the time my friends cancer was caught it was very advanced and untreatable. This was partly due to her age being a barrier to investigation.

giddly Mon 11-Oct-10 12:08:35

Hi
My mother had ovarian cancer when she was 45 (a year younger than me). No other member on that side of my family has had it (although my first cousin on my father's side died of it also at 45).
I'm aware there's a hereditary element to it, but from looking at various websites it would seem you're not really at increased risk unless two close relatives from the same side of the family have contracted it. Is this right? I suppose I'm a bit concerned as there are a lot of "unknowns" in our family - lot of my grandmother's generation died relatively early by I have no idea what from. Would it be wise for me to get screening, and if so how accurate is it?
(Sorry for the long and rather self-focused post!).
Many thanks

rayotlou2 Mon 11-Oct-10 12:27:21

Hello,
I was wondering if it is possible to detect Ovarian cancer in a urine sample?

Many Thanks

Mermaidspam Mon 11-Oct-10 12:41:41

Hi,

I am the only remaining female member of my family who has not had ovarian cancer (or an early hysterectomy to prevent the occurrence of it).

I am now 30 and have been told that I will not be screened until age 35.

My question is, at what age should I be thinking about having my ovaries removed? I do want to leave the possibility of another child as open as possible, but do not want to take the risk of ovarian cancer.

cakeywakey Mon 11-Oct-10 12:56:05

Like Giddly, I'd like to ask about the hereditary risk of ovarian cancer. My grandmother died of the disease and there are also cases of breast cancer on that side of the family. Is there a risk and if yes, is there anything that can be done to mitigate it?

maresedotes Mon 11-Oct-10 13:03:42

Why is bleeding never mentioned as a possible symptom to look out for? My mum had bleeding and, although she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she was told the cancer had started in her fallopian tube. Is it rare for bleeing to occur?

strandedatsea Mon 11-Oct-10 13:45:02

Can ovarian cysts be indicators that you may get ovarian cancer, even if the cyst itself is benign?

imblet Mon 11-Oct-10 14:02:31

I understand that the use of clomid increases the risk of ovarian cancer. Is this right, and is it possible to say by how much? I used clomid for about 2 years and there is no ovarian cancer in the family.

PumpkinBrain Mon 11-Oct-10 14:31:49

I'd liked to expand on standedatsea's question and ask

if you have had benign ovarian cysts (multiple and large) and CNIII tissue detected with smears are you likely to be at more risk of developing ovarian cancer?

Heartsease Mon 11-Oct-10 14:56:35

Sadly I just learned of a very premature death from ovarian cancer this morning. I echo the need for people to take younger women seriously -- my dermoid cyst was not discovered until it was 10cm because my GP did not do a pelvic exam until 6 months after I first complained of pain and bloating (at age 23).

I'd also like detail on any relationship with cysts, but specifically dermoid cysts. Do dermoids indicate that you are any more likely to develop OC?

Also, does losing one ovary affect your OC risk with respect to the other?

4andnotout Mon 11-Oct-10 16:32:29

Hi my mum had a full hysterectomy at the age of 24 as she had ovarian cancer, cancer of the womb and of the cervix. I know I have cysts on both of my ovaries and have pcos, am I at higher risk of ovarian cancer and is there a way of detecting it early?

PavlovtheCat Mon 11-Oct-10 17:40:07

is it true that options for treating this aggressive cancer are reduced once you reach 60/65? i ask as my mother was refused the chance of a hysterectomy despite this being the usual and immediate course of action, while another person she knew, diagnosed at the same time, with similar grading and spreading into other areas was offered an immediate operation before chemo, and research i have read suggests that treatment might be age specific.

PavlovtheCat Mon 11-Oct-10 17:42:06

wildsheep - my mother was misdiagnosed also, she was told she had a stomach bug, then referred to gastro specialist, waiting 6 weeks for her appt. She became so ill she went to A&E as she could wait no longer and her gp did not take her health issues seriously. I am not sure it would have made a huge difference to the outcome, but who knows.

maresedotes Mon 11-Oct-10 17:52:55

Another question from me.

My mum wasn't diagnosed for 8 months and wasn't taken seriously when discussing her symptoms. I know that most doctors are clued up and that she was unlucky with her one. However, has more training been given to doctors since 1995 when she was misdiagnosed? I have since more literature in my surgery so am hoping so.

Medee Mon 11-Oct-10 19:11:22

Both my grandmothers, maternal and paternal, died of this as their primary cancer. Does the fact that both my grandmothers had it make it more or less hereditary. My mum had a full hysterectomy several years ago (not related to her ovaries).

I spent 10 years on the pill (came off a year ago and now pregnant) - how much will that have mitigated any hereditary risk?

mumbar Mon 11-Oct-10 19:28:35

Can a pelvic exam detect OC??

What are the main symptoms and what other symptoms are there to look out for. Also can it be OC without these symptoms? Thanks.

Littlefish Mon 11-Oct-10 20:51:44

Is there any link between breast cancer and germ cell cancer?

If someone has been treated for germ cell cancer and has been told that the treatment has been successful, how often will they be re-tested, and what are the statistics on re-occurrence of germ cell cancer?

jonicomelately Mon 11-Oct-10 21:39:45

I've never been on the pill but have been pregnant twice and breastfed both babies for nine and six months. Am I at a higher risk of OC?

StrangewaysHereICome Tue 12-Oct-10 13:05:00

OC worries me due to the lack of symptoms. While I know it is fairly rare in the general population, I wonder if I am at an increased hereditary risk.

My paternal grandmother was one of four sisters, all who died/suffered from either colon, breast and uterine cancer. One of my father's cousins died from OC at 40 years, and a number of his other cousins have had colon cancer. My father is currently having tests for colon problems.

The suspected genetic connection is something called HNPCC (hereditary non polyposis colon cancer). Is this gene also connected with OC and other female cancers? Is there any screening available for OC as it is the lack of symptoms that worries me. Obviously as my father is male he won't be at risk from female cancers and he is an only child.

Thank you.

MrsTittleMouse Tue 12-Oct-10 14:03:13

I sometimes get IBS at times of stress, and I'm worried that this would make it hard to diagnose ovarian cancer (if I ever got it). What are the differences between IBS and OC symptoms?

Thank you.

ConnorTraceptive Tue 12-Oct-10 14:37:57

I would really like to hear the answer to MrsTittleMouse's question too

fruitshootsandheaves Tue 12-Oct-10 14:43:16

Mrs TittleMouse. I had an ultrasound and internal scan today to check my ovaries as my mum died from ovarian cancer and I was worried. I suffer from IBS too and was worried that the symptoms are similar. Much to my relief everything looked normal. I went via my GP and had blood tests first

Littlefish Tue 12-Oct-10 14:49:37

Very good question MrsTittleMouse.

mumbar Tue 12-Oct-10 19:14:37

MrsTittlemouse - thankyou for asking that. I have IBS and have an internal tomorrow for period problems and pain which may be related or to IBS. I'm very worried the IBS could have masked something else. sad

PanicMode Tue 12-Oct-10 19:20:57

I have had ovarian cysts in my last two pregnancies - I was bluelighted to hospital having collapsed with pain relating to them, and spent a week in hospital. At a postnatal scan after my third I was told I have PCOS, even though I have never had any symptoms and conceived all four of my children immensely easily. My grandmother died of ovarian cancer; my mother had 'suspicious growths' on her ovaries and had them removed; my aunt died of breast cancer, and since having my fourth child my periods have been utterly horrendously heavy. Does this history make OC inevitable and would any gynae remove my ovaries as a prophylactic measure? What would the health implications of this be?

Thank you.

thisiswhataluv Wed 13-Oct-10 08:18:20

i have been having pain in the right side of my groin area for about 10 days now, i had inercourse with dh on saturday and got such a sharp pain in the same area for about 2 seconds if that ....
my periods have always been irregular but now they can be anything from 6-9 weeks apart,
earliest appointment with doctor is this friday, but i got in such a state on monday that i rang nhs direct and went to my local walk in centre, the nurse there felt my stomach and said she couldnt feel anything, she asked if i had back and leg pain, i answered no, she then said go and see your gp.
as it is yesterday i developed a pain which felt deep inside my left thigh despite the pain being in right side of groin....
im pretty sure i have a cyst..
can anyone tell me how the symptoms of a cyst differ to oc please? are they the same symptoms?
i am getting myself really anxious about this..
should mention im 27 and have 3dc, have never had any problems conceiving and smears are all normal...

teatea Wed 13-Oct-10 09:31:50

I agree with Heartsease and share the same concerns regarding Dermoid Cysts. I currently have 1 small dermoid cyst on each ovary. These are recurring cysts as I've already had two operations for removal of benign dermoid cysts. Is there a blood test to see if there is a genetic link to ovarian cancer? Despite my history of operations I still couldn't get a scan to check state of ovaries after successful IVF pregnancy. This has to be wrong....

ASmallBunchofFlowers Wed 13-Oct-10 18:48:55

I have had conflicting advice from doctors about whether or not IVF treatment (lots of drugs) increases the risk of OC. Does it? If so, what are the symptoms to be alert for?

mumbar Wed 13-Oct-10 18:51:41

Will an ultrasound pick up OC? Or a pelvic exam??

When having pelvic exam it felt briused when GP pushed externally whilst examinining internally. I have been referred to hospital for an ultrasound.

WilfShelf Wed 13-Oct-10 21:27:08

When women are worried about symptoms that fit the profile of OC, but also fit symptoms of many other things much less serious, how should they proceed to talk to their health care professionals? Given that saying what one is really worried about can be difficult in a health setting, what sort of 'script' can help women get the answers they want, without being dismissed, but without placing unnecessary pressures on resources either?

It would be helpful to have the OC expert's advice on the crucial questions to ask GPs; and indeed the follow-up to their usual responses...

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 14-Oct-10 11:44:38

Thanks very much for all of these. We're going to close the thread to new questions now and send it off to the Ovarian Cancer Action team for their responses; we'll post here when the answers are in.

Look out for the cervical cancer Q+A next week.

KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 15-Oct-10 17:35:02

Hello

Just to let you know that those lovely experts at Ovarian Cancer Action have got their answers back to us in superfast time - they're over here.

Thanks again for all your questions.

Littlefish Fri 15-Oct-10 20:24:33

Thank you very much. That was very quick!

ASmallBunchofFlowers Fri 15-Oct-10 22:40:43

Thanks!

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