Top tips for speaking to your GP

If you're concerned about ovarian cancer symptoms and aren't sure how to talk to your GP, follow this step-by-step guide.

If you think you might have symptoms of ovarian cancer, it's important to see your GP. We've created this guide to help you talk to your GP about the symptoms you're experiencing and what information you might like to gather before booking an appointment. 

  1. Know the symptoms of ovarian cancer
    Symptoms include persistent bloating, feeling full quickly and/or loss of appetite, pelvic or abdominal pain and urinary symptoms. You should go to your GP if you have any of these symptoms and they are new for you, don’t go away or happen more than 12 times a month. Full details on symptoms
  2. Know what's normal for you 
    There can also be other symptoms including changes in bowel habit (e.g. diarrhoea or constipation), extreme fatigue (feeling very tired) and unexplained weight loss. Act early if you feel something is wrong. You know your body best.
  3. Make an appointment with your GP
    Tell your surgery you are worried about cancer and need to be seen as soon as possible.
  4. Keep a symptoms diary
    Keep a symptoms diary to track your symptoms. This can be very useful not only for you but also for your GP. Download our symptoms diary [PDF].
  5. Talk to your GP about your concerns
    You can book a double appointment with your GP if you need time to discuss more than one concern. Most GP surgeries are now offering a mix of telephone and/or video appointments.
  6. Think about your family history
    Think about whether anyone in your family has had ovarian or breast cancer, on either your mother's or father's side. It might be helpful to ask relatives about this. If you do have a family history of ovarian and/or breast cancer, make sure you tell your GP. 
  7. Give your GP as much information as possible
    Write down anything you want to discuss with the GP or any specific concerns you have and take this with you to your appointment. Tell your GP that you're worried about ovarian cancer. They'll be glad you've shared your concerns. 
  8. Be aware - smear tests don't detect ovarian cancer
    Cervical screening tests - known as smear tests - do NOT detect ovarian cancer. All new symptoms should be discussed with your GP.
  9. Be persistent with your GP
    Keep going back to your GP if your symptoms do not improve even if any tests and investigations are negative. You can always take a friend or family member to support you at your follow-up appointments.
  10. Find out more about ovarian cancer
    For more information on symptoms and the tests your GP should do, or if you are worried about ovarian cancer, call our support line for confidential information, support and signposting on 020 7923 5475.

Download our 10 top tips leaflet (English) [PDF] or 10 top tips leaflet (Welsh) [PDF] to take with you to your GP appointment. 

 


This information is reviewed regularly and is in line with accepted national and international guidelines. All of our publications undergo an expert peer review and are reviewed by women with ovarian cancer to ensure that we provide accurate and high-quality information. To find out more take a look at our information standards.

Last reviewed: March 2018
Next review: February 2021