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Each year, about 1,720 Australians are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer starts when cells in one or both ovaries, the fallopian tubes or the peritoneum become abnormal, grow out of control and form a lump called a tumour.

Deb Roffe is one of Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 Nurses who support more than 5,000 South Australians impacted by cancer every year. This Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, she shares the importance of listening to your body and seeing your doctor when something doesn’t feel quite right.

“As busy workers, mothers, and partners, we can often put others in our lives before ourselves. But it’s important to make your health a priority too as unfortunately, many people don’t know what’s normal for their body’’ Deb said.

“Ovarian cancer has a big impact on women and families since it is usually found at an advanced stage. Unfortunately, the symptoms can be similar to other common conditions which can make it hard to diagnose early.”

Ovarian cancer symptoms are more likely to develop as the cancer grows and may include:

  • feeling full quickly
  • changes in toilet habits
  • indigestion
  • fatigue
  • pressure in the abdomen or pelvis
  • a swollen or bloated abdomen
  • weight loss or weight gain.

“If you have any ovarian cancer symptoms and they are new for you, are severe or continue for more than two weeks, it is best to have a check-up.”

The causes of ovarian cancer are largely unknown, but some risk factors can include increasing age, genetic factors, family history, endometriosis, reproductive history, lifestyle factors and hormonal factors

For more information on ovarian cancer, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to speak to an experienced cancer nurse or visit

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