01/03/2013 06:25 GMT

Screenings 'Give False Reassurance' To Women Concerned About Ovarian Cancer

Almost half of women incorrectly believe that smear tests can detect ovarian cancer, a charity has warned.

Target Ovarian Cancer said that a poll of 1,000 UK women found that 47% think that cervical screening will detect cancer of the ovaries.

The survey, conducted by the charity to highlight Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, also found that confusion about the disease is most common among 16 to 34-year-olds.

Symptoms of the disease, which affects around 7,000 women each year in the UK, include increased abdominal size or persistent bloating, difficulty eating or feeling full, pelvic or abdominal pain and needing to urinate more urgently or more often.

Annwen Jones, chief executive of the charity, said: "Almost half of all women are taking false reassurance from their regular cervical screening, but are risking their health by not knowing that cervical screening does not detect ovarian cancer, the deadliest of the gynaecological cancers.

"In the absence of a screening test for ovarian cancer, it is crucial that women know the symptoms and visit their GP with concerns, as early diagnosis saves lives."