Seated woman reading Target Ovarian Cancer information guide

Symptoms of ovarian cancer

The sooner ovarian cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat. Find out how to recognise the symptoms.

Knowing the symptoms of ovarian cancer could save your life. Our video tells you more about the symptoms to look out for.

What are the symptoms?

  • Persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes)
  • Feeling full quickly and/or loss of appetite
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain (that's from your tummy to the top of your thighs)
  • Urinary symptoms (needing to wee more urgently or more often than usual)

Occasionally there can be other symptoms:

  • Changes in bowel habit (e.g. diarrhoea or constipation)
  • Extreme fatigue (feeling very tired)
  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Any unusual bleeding from the vagina before or after the menopause should always be investigated by a GP.

Symptoms will be:

  • New – they're not normal for you  
  • Frequent – they usually happen more than 12 times a month
  • Persistent – they don't go away

Worried about your symptoms?

If you regularly experience any one or more of these symptoms, which aren't normal for you, it's important that you contact your GP. It's unlikely that your symptoms are caused by a serious problem but it's important to get checked out, even if they're mild. Your GP should order a CA125 blood test. They may also order ultrasound scans of your ovaries and tummy.

If two or more of your close relatives have had cancer you should tell your GP as ovarian cancer can run in families.

Ovarian cysts can produce symptoms similar to those for ovarian cancer but they aren't known to increase the risk of ovarian cancer. Other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) also have symptoms similar to ovarian cancer.

If your symptoms don't go away, go back to your GP or ask for a second opinion within two weeks.

More support

If you're worried about symptoms or you need some advice on talking to your GP about symptoms our nurses are here.

Contact our support line

Last reviewed: November 2022
Next review: November 2025

To learn more about our review process, take a look at our information standards.