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World Ovarian Cancer Day Reminder - Do not Ignore Signs and Symptoms of this Silent Killer

Posted on: 04 May 2020

World Ovarian Cancer Day Reminder - Do not Ignore Signs and Symptoms of this Silent Killer

On World Ovarian Cancer Day and in the midst of a global pandemic, Ireland’s foremost Ovarian Cancer Campaigners, Researchers and Patient Advocates are advising women across Ireland not to ignore the warning signs of Ovarian Cancer, a disease commonly known as the ‘silent killer’.

Ovarian cancer is the 6th most commonly diagnosed female cancer in Ireland. Approximately 441 women are diagnosed each year with 279 women losing their lives due to the disease*. Ireland ranks among the highest in the world in terms of mortality from ovarian cancer. 


Early diagnosis and treatment are vital and Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist and National Cancer Control Programme lead for women’s cancer, Dr. Michael O’Leary is advising that -


“Even in the midst of this pandemic, when health services are being severely tested, women should continue to listen to their bodies and consult with their GP if they have persistent bloating, abdominal or pelvic pain; changes in urination, bowel or eating habits including eating less and/or feeling full more quickly.  Symptoms of ovarian cancer can often be confused with other conditions such as IBS.  This is why it is important to seek help if you notice persistent changes.  Women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer should be particularly vigilant. Talk to your GP, describe new symptoms which are not going away and mention any family history. GPs are there to help you and are not too busy to give you advice.”


The BEAT Ovarian Cancer Campaign focuses on knowing your body, knowing the signs and getting help at an early stage if you have any of the following for three weeks or more:


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

Toilet changes in urination or bowel habits


Dr. Sharon O’Toole, senior research fellow in Trinity College Dublin, working in the area of ovarian cancer emphasises that -


“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 other cancers, ovarian cancer has had little improvement in its prognosis over the last 20 years. There is unfortunately no simple diagnostic test or vaccine. There is no replacement for constant vigilance and nobody can afford to ignore their bodies, even during the current public health emergency.”


World Ovarian Cancer Day is a global movement bringing women living with ovarian cancer, their families and supporters, patient advocacy organisations, medical practitioners and researchers together each year on the 8th May to raise awareness of ovarian cancer. 


To mark World Ovarian Cancer Day, the following buildings have generously agreed to ‘Light Up in Teal’, the colour associated all over the world with the fight against ovarian cancer – City Hall, Cork; Convention Centre, Dublin; East Galway and Midlands Cancer Support Centre, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway;  Kilkenny Castle; National Concert Hall, Dublin; National University of Ireland, Galway; Pearse Lyons Distillery, Dublin; University College Cork. 


We hope that the Light Up in Teal campaign will provide a timely reminder to women in Ireland not to ignore the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer.  We are - Breakthrough Cancer Research, Cancer Trials Ireland, East Galway and Midlands Cancer Support Centre, Emer Casey Foundation, Irish Cancer Society, Irish Society of Gynaecological Oncology, Karen Fenton Ovarian Cancer Fund, Lynch Syndrome Ireland, Marie Keating Foundation, National Cancer Control Programme, OvaCare, SOCK, St. James’ Hospital Foundation (GynaeCancerCare) and Trinity College Dublin.  

For further information on this initiative contact

For more information on World Ovarian Cancer Day visit:

* National Cancer Registry Ireland Report, October 2019.  Note the following Fact Sheets are only available for data reported up to 2017.

NCRI Factsheet Page 1

NCRI Factsheet Page 2

IARC-WHO Mortality Rates

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