GPs urged to be ‘gatekeepers’ for ovarian cancer

Sometimes those are the symptoms of ovarian cancer, says Dr Robyn Sayer, an oncologist at the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick, Sydney.

Every patient should be given the complete woman's exam, she told a Teal Ribbon Day lunch at the NSW parliament on Wednesday.

This includes an abdominal and pelvic exam.

Any patient not given a full examination should ask for a referral to a gynaecologist or should see another GP, she said.

"I hear time and time again from cancer patients that the doctor gave them a pill for acid reflux or something and sent them on their way.

"GPs are the gatekeepers. I would just like them to have ovarian cancer on the list of possibilities, even though it is rare."

She said GPs should also find out their patient's family history of cancer, although 80 to 85% of ovarian cancer cases were random with no family history.

"Women must listen to their bodies," said ovarian cancer survivor