Women outside talking with coffees

Talking about ovarian cancer facts while campaigning

You are part of this movement. We want you to feel empowered and informed when talking about ovarian cancer while campaigning.

This page contains statistics that you may not wish to see. If you would like to talk to someone, please contact our nurse-led Support Line.

Support for you 

What is ovarian cancer?

The ovaries are two small organs, each about the size and shape of an almond. They're located low in the tummy area and form part of the female reproductive and hormonal systems.

Ovarian cancer starts from the cells in and around the ovary and fallopian tubes. 

Find out more about ovarian cancer

The four main symptoms of ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer symptoms

There are four main symptoms of ovarian cancer:

  1. Persistent bloating

  2. Felling full quickly and/or loss of appetite

  3. Pelvic or abdominal pain

  4. Urinary symptoms

Symptoms will be frequent (usually happen more than 12 times a month), persistent (they don't go away) and new (they are not normal for you).

Occasionally, there can be other symptoms. These include changes in bowel habit, extreme fatigue (feeling very tired), and unexplained weight loss. Any bleeding after the menopause should always be investigated by a GP.

Key ovarian cancer statistics

More women die as a result of ovarian cancer each year in the UK than all other gynaecological cancers combined.

  • 7,400


    Women are diagnosed each year

    with ovarian cancer in the UK

  • 11


    Women die every day from ovarian cancer

    That's one woman every two hours

  • 6th


    Ovarian cancer is the 6th most common

    cancer amongst women

What can we change?

Symptoms awareness

There is an awareness crisis in ovarian cancer. We need to change this, so we're campaigning for national awareness campaigns that will give everyone the best chance of survival. 

Percentage of women in the general population in the UK able to name one of the four main symptoms of ovarian cancer: 

Persistent bloating 21%
Pelvic or abdominal pain 32%
Feeling full/loss of appetite 3%
Increased urinary urgency/frequency


Try not to refer to ovarian cancer as a 'silent killer'. This can reinforce the perception that the symptoms of ovarian cancer can't be spotted until late stages. We want to increase early diagnosis in order to save lives, and therefore need to change these perceptions. 

Cervical screening awareness

Cervical screenings (also referred to as smear tests) only screen for cervical cancer. 

  • 40% of women in the UK wrongly believe that cervical screening detects ovarian cancer

Early diagnosis

Transforming early diagnosis is vital to saving lives. Across the UK, too few women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer early. 

  • Over a quarter of women visit their GP three or more times before being referred for diagnostic tests.

  • In England, only 32% of women are diagnosed at an early stage (stage 1 or 2). The NHS England target for early diagnosis is 75%.

  • One in seven women die within two months of an ovarian cancer diagnosis. 

Better treatment

Access to treatment and cancer drugs varies across the UK. We want to improve access so that everyone has the best treatment options for them, no matter where they live.

  • Only 23% of women report being asked if they would like to join a clinical trial. 

  • Older women are less likely to receive treatment. 37% of women over 70 years old receive neither surgery nor chemotherapy compared to six% of women under the age of 50. 


Care and support is crucial to deal with the impact of ovarian cancer. However:

  • 54% of those diagnosed are not asked by anyone involved in their treatment about the impact on their mental health.

  • 62% of women who would have liked support with menopause report that it was not discussed with them. 

  • 34% of women diagnosed do not have a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) with them when they got their diagnosis. 

Talk to us!