Lizzy Dening

Do you put everyone else's health before your own?

Lizzy Dening
Do you put everyone else's health before your own?

We're all guilty of it - when our partner, children (or even our pets!) are poorly, we drop everything to help, but when it comes to our own symptoms we tend to grin and bear it.

To mark Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, a new study has shown that it takes most women five days to act on the health of their children; six for their partner and a whopping 15 for their own. In fact, according to Ovarian Cancer Action, they act twice as fast when it comes to their pets' health as their own!


“There are countless times that I have encouraged my children and husband to act on their health concerns and go to the doctor," says Sarah Passby, ovarian cancer survivor. "Looking back, I didn’t prioritise my own health in the same way and, like many women, wrongly assumed a smear test meant I was safe from cancer. Having been through ovarian cancer, I’ll do anything to make sure other people are aware of the symptoms and are acting on them if worried.”

Despite one woman dying of ovarian cancer every two hours, there is further confusion around screening of the disease. One in four (23 per cent) women wrongly think a smear test detects ovarian cancer and just slightly fewer (20 per cent) mistakenly think it detects all gynaecological cancers. It does, in fact, detect for cervical cancer only.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer

Symptoms can be difficult to pinpoint and are often mistaken for symptoms of less serious conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Regular experience of the following could be a symptom of ovarian cancer, if you’re worried, speak to your GP.

  • Persistent bloating
  • Persistent stomach pain
  • Finding it difficult to eat or feeling full quickly
  • Needing to wee more often

Other symptoms you may notice include:

  • Back pain
  • Changes in your bowel habits (diarrhoea or constipation)
  • Feeling tired all the time


  • For more information on ovarian cancer, go to
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