WOMEN are being warned over a "silent killer" disease that may initially appear as irregular periods.

Ovarian cancer affects about 7,000 women each year – making it one of the most common types of the disease in females.

Tragically, there are around 4,100 ovarian cancer deaths in the UK every year – that's 11 day.

The four main symptoms are persistent bloating; pelvic or abdominal pain; feeling full or a loss of appetite and an increased need to pee.

But women are now being warned of a little-known symptom that could be a sign you need to get checked out.

Primary school teacher and mum-of-two Emma Durkin, 48, said she brushed off her irregular periods as the menopause.

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But soon she began to experience intense pain before doctors found an abscess on her right ovary.

While getting it drained, medics found a cyst on her left ovary – and a biopsy revealed she had ovarian cancer.

She told ITV: "This has been a massive shock. I wasn't expecting it, it was completely out of the blue. I had never heard of ovarian cancer.

"I was always up to date with my smear tests and I thought they would pick up anything down there but they don't.

"Ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer because it's really hard to find.

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"Three specialists looked at my scans and not one of them picked up the cancer.

"I wouldn't have known if it hadn't been for the biopsy. I would have just gone on not knowing and thinking I was going through the menopause."

She has since undergone a major operation and will soon start chemotherapy.

What are the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer?

Many symptoms of ovarian cancer are hard to recognise as they are similar to conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Others have mistakenly thought that the swelling is a result of pregnancy.

Things to look out for include:

  • A swollen stomach
  • Feeling bloated constantly
  • Needing to urinate frequently
  • Discomfort in your tummy or pelvic area
  • Feeling full quickly when eating

She explained: "I think everybody thinks of cancer as you being poorly with no hair. You never hear, or tend to see, the surgery side of it.

"I had 44 staples in my stomach and I was really sick. When I was in hospital I had almost given up, it was just horrific.”

She is now urging other women to watch out for the signs of ovarian cancer.

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She said: "I just want people to be aware. It's a silent killer and it's killing women. 

“If you have any issues to do with down below go and get them checked out. If you think something is not right get a second opinion."

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