Women Are Mistaking Ovarian Cancer for Bloating

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Bloating is one of those things that EVERY woman has dealt with at some point. Many women deal with it on a consistent basis during their monthly cycle. It’s annoying and uncomfortable, and we do our best to deal with it or ignore it. But a new study suggests that some women mistake ovarian cancer for bloating at an alarming rate. The study out of the United Kingdom says that most women won’t see their doctor for persistent bloating. Persistent bloating can be a symptom of ovarian cancer, which often goes undiagnosed in early stages.

As many as two-thirds of women in the UK won’t see a doctor for persistent bloating. The women mistake ovarian cancer for bloating, putting their lives at risk.

Target Ovarian Cancer, the U.K.’s leading ovarian cancer charity, is hoping to change how women deal with persistent bloating. In a press release, they organization says that 2/3 of women would try to change their diet to tackle persistent bloating first, rather than see their doctor. This is alarming, because 2/3 of women who have ovarian cancer aren’t diagnosed until AFTER the disease has spread, making treatment more difficult.

Target Ovarian cancer’s goal is not to scare women who experience bloating. But they don’t want women to stop and think about how long they’ve been bloated before writing it off.

Only 1 in 5 women even know that persistent bloating can be a sign of ovarian cancer. And women over 55, who are more likely to develop the disease, are also less likely to google their symptoms. Raising awareness is critical in getting women to the doctor and diagnosing the disease in the early stages, when it’s most treatable.

This is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. My oldest sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was just 21, after she noticed persistent, unexplained bloating. She got into treatment early, which gave her 7 years of life that she might not have had.

She died at the age of 28, but lived an amazing life in that extra 7 years. If you experience persistent, unexplained bloating, talk to your doctor. That conversation could very well save your life.

(Image: iStock/kaarsten)