'Peace of Mind' campaign

You might have seen our Peace of Mind campaign on social media, or heard us on the local radio. At the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Cancer Alliance, we are raising awareness of the early signs of cancer, and empowering people to see their GP without delay if they are experiencing these symptoms.


This ‘Peace of Mind’ approach shifts the focus from fearing the worst to understanding that seeing your GP promptly could provide information and answers that ease your worries. It assures people that even if the outcome is a cancer diagnosis, catching it early is better than waiting. Together, we're striving for peace of mind, knowing we're taking proactive steps to keep everyone healthy.


Read more about the Peace of Mind campaign here.

Ovarian Cancer

Around 7,500 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK each year. This makes ovarian cancer the 6th most common cancer in women*. There are different types of ovarian cancer and this depends on the type of cell the cancer started in.


The ovaries are two small organs that store the eggs needed to make babies. Ovarian cancer is when abnormal cells in the ovary begin to grow and divide in an uncontrolled way, eventually forming a growth (tumour). If ovarian cancer isn’t caught early, cancer cells gradually grow into the surrounding tissues and may spread to other areas of the body.


Sometimes ovarian cancer runs in families, and it mostly affects women over the age of 50. It is important to note this cancer can affect anyone who has or who has had ovaries, even if you have had your ovaries removed because it can also affect your fallopian tubes, or the lining inside your tummy (peritoneum).


More details on ovarian cancer can be found below.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer

Symptoms of ovarian cancer include frequently (roughly 12 or more times a month) having:

  • a swollen tummy or feeling bloated
  • pain or tenderness in your tummy or the area between the hips (pelvis)
  • no appetite or feeling full quickly after eating
  • an urgent need to pee or needing to pee more often

Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:

  • indigestion
  • constipation or diarrhoea
  • back pain
  • feeling tired all the time
  • losing weight without trying
  • bleeding from the vagina after the menopause


It’s important to go and get any symptoms checked with your GP, even if you have had surgery to remove your ovaries. You may have another condition with similar symptoms.


Many of the early signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer are common, such as bloating, and so may be caused by other conditions. For this reason, ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage.


This campaign seeks to normalise people going to their GP if they notice anything unusual to them for a ‘Peace of Mind’ check.


If it is cancer, discovering it early, when it isn’t too large and hasn’t spread, improves the chances of successful treatment - finding cancer early helps save lives.

Making an appointment with your GP

If you are experiencing these symptoms, or notice anything unusual for you, please don't hesitate to see your GP or practice nurse, even if you're concerned about what your symptoms might be.


Keep persisting to secure an appointment, as addressing your worry is crucial and unlikely to go away without seeking professional help.


Conversations with your GP are confidential, and you should not be embarrassed to share your symptoms with them – they are used to discussing intimate problems and will try to put you at ease.

What happens at your GP appointment?

During your appointment, the GP or practice nurse will inquire about your health and any symptoms you may be experiencing, including whether anyone in your family has had ovarian or breast cancer. Depending on the situation, they may request to conduct an examination. If you prefer, you can request a female doctor or nurse when scheduling your appointment. Additionally, you have the option to bring a friend or family member for support, or you can ask the practice for a chaperone to accompany you during the examination. During the examination, you will be asked to undress from the waist down behind a screen, and you'll be provided with a sheet for privacy.


The examination may involve:

  • Pressing on your tummy only
  • Occasionally the GP or nurse might recommend a speculum examination, similar to a smear test, where a smooth, tube-shaped instrument (a speculum) is gentle inserted into your vagina so they can see inside this area
  • It should not be painful, but you may find it uncomfortable. Talk to the GP or nurse if you are feeling uncomfortable.
  • You can have a friend, family member or other member of staff in the room with you during your exam if you want.


The GP or practice nurse may refer you for more tests or to see a specialist in hospital if they think you have a condition that needs to be investigated.


This may be an urgent referral, usually within 2 weeks. This does not definitely mean you have cancer.


Find out more information and tips about seeing your GP on CRUK’s website here: Cancer Research UK: seeing a GP about symptoms of ovarian cancer

Causes of ovarian cancer

The risk of developing ovarian cancer increases with age, with more than half of all cases in the UK in women aged 65 and over. Anyone with ovaries can get ovarian cancer.


You may have a higher chance of getting ovarian cancer if you:

  • inherited a faulty gene, such as the BRCA genes or those linked to Lynch syndrome
  • had breast cancer or bowel cancer
  • had radiotherapy treatment to the lower part of the tummy to treat a previous cancer
  • have endometriosis or diabetes
  • started your periods at a young age or went through the menopause late (over 55), or have not had a baby – because these things may mean you’ve released more eggs (ovulated more)
  • have never used any hormonal contraception, such as the pill or an implant
  • are taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • are overweight
  • smoke

How to lower your risk of ovarian cancer

You cannot always prevent ovarian cancer but there are things you can do to lower your chances of getting it. These include:

  • quit smoking
  • stay a healthy weight or lose weight if you're overweight
  • talk with a GP about possible tests or treatment if ovarian cancer runs in your family. This might mean a referral to a specialist team to investigate for faulty genes.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of ovarian cancer, make an appointment with your GP to get Peace of Mind.


For more information about ovarian cancer, including tests and treatment for ovarian cancer, visit the following websites:

* Statistics and information taken from Cancer Research UK and NHS England