February is ovarian cancer awareness month and that means women are being reminded to be aware of the symptoms of the condition in the absence of a screening programme.
Ovarian cancer is the biggest killer among gynaecological cancers and the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Gynaecological Cancer Foundation is urging women to become aware and educated about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, which is one of five gynaecological cancers - which also include cervical, endometrial, vulval and vaginal.
Fundraising events are planned throughout the month and a brochure has been produced for medical centres and family planning clinics around the country.
A major issue is that the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer may be attributed to less serious causes, so it's important for women to visit their doctor if they notice anything out of the ordinary which persists for more than two weeks, organisers say.
Women are being urged to use the BEAT acronym to personally detect symptoms early, as well as other symptoms including a change in bowel habits, increased urgency or frequency of urination, and fatigue.