Page modified at: 07/03/2010
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING THE OVARIAN CANCER SYMPTOM DIARY
The Ovarian Cancer Symptom Diary is designed to help women record common symptoms which are causing them concern and to be able to usefully discuss them with their GP. Whilst many of these symptoms are common and are NOT DUE TO OVARIAN CANCER it is important that women should be encouraged to record them and if frequent, to discuss them with their GP. The diary allows women to record which symptoms they experience, how often they occur and their severity. Recent research by the Department of Health have identified that many of these symptoms occur more frequently in women who have Ovarian Cancer.
WHO SHOULD USE THE OVARIAN CANCER SYMPTOM DIARY?
The Ovarian Cancer Symptom Diary is designed to allow women to monitor the common symptoms that are sometimes assocaited with ovarian cancer. It should be used by women who experience the following symptoms on most days of the month:
• Stomach or pelvic pain
• Persistent abdominal bloating
• Difficulty eating and feeling full quickly
Other symptoms which may occur include the neeed to urinate frequently, changes in bowel habit, excessive tiredness and back pain.
If you have already seen your doctor about these symptoms it may be helpful to formally document them for four weeks and make an appointment to discuss them again
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
• Make an appointment to see your docotr and make sure you have completed your diary
• Your diary will help give your doctor a clear picture of your symptoms
• Your doctor should consider whether or not your symptoms might be suggestive of ovarian cancer especially if they occur often, are persistent, new to you and occur on most days.
• If your doctor feels your symptoms might be due to ovarian cancer then they can arrange a transvaginal ultrasound scan to look at your ovaries and a blood test (CA125). If these tests indicate an increased risk of ovarian cancer then you should be referred to a specialist as soon as possible.
TALKING TO YOUR DOCTOR?
• Explain to your doctor if you have concerns about the possibility of ovarian cancer
• Write down the points you would like to discuss before you go to see your doctor
• Remember you will have your Ovarian Cancer Symptom Diary to help explain your symptoms. Try to remember when they started and how often they occur and whether they are getting worse or better or variable.
• Tell your doctor if any of your family have had ovarian or breast cancer.
• If you feel your docotr has not listened to your concerns, seek a second opinion from another doctor. Sometimes people find it easier to talk with one doctor than another.
Goff B. A, Mandel L.S, Drescher CW, Urban N, Gough S, Schurman KM, Pataras J, Mahony BS, Robyn Andersen M, Development of an Ovarian Cancer Symptom Index: Possibilities for Earlier Detection CANCER; 2007 Jan 15;109(2):221-7
Click on OvarianCancerSymptomDiary.pdf to download the Ovarian Cancer Symptom Diary
Screenshot of the Ovarian Cancer Symptom Diary