News from Target Ovarian Cancer

Eilish speaking at parliamentary reception

12.07.12Delight at government action in response to Target Ovarian Cancerís campaign for symptom awareness programme

Target Ovarian Cancer is delighted by today’s Department of Health announcement that ovarian cancer is to be included in its symptoms awareness programme, Be Clear on Cancer. The charity has been campaigning for this step since its inception, with evidence from their most recent Pathfinder Study revealing that ovarian cancer symptom awareness amongst woman has not improved since 2009, reinforcing the need for a large scale campaign.

Target Ovarian Cancer’s chief executive, Annwen Jones, says: “This is an important development and one that will genuinely save lives. Currently only 3% of UK women are very confident of spotting a symptom of ovarian cancer, demonstrating the desperate need to improve awareness.

“We would like to thank the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ovarian Cancer for their support in achieving this. We also pay tribute to the hundreds of women who have tirelessly campaigned alongside Target Ovarian Cancer, ensuring that this issue has risen up the political agenda.

“As the national charity working to increase awareness and improve diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer, we are ready to work with the Department of Health to deliver this vital campaign.”

Target Ovarian Cancer first urged the government to act to increase awareness of the disease in 2009, which led to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ovarian Cancer being formed the following year. The APPG has been instrumental in securing this progress, with members taking up the challenge to grow support within parliament, and holding a debate which led to a meeting with Care Services Minister Paul Burstow MP, at which he gave his support. Indeed he chose the AGM of the group to announce that ovarian cancer was now being included in the Be Clear on Cancer programme. Four initial pilot campaigns will take place in cancer networks, early in 2013, and it is then hoped that the campaign can be escalated to a regional and then national level.

Sharon Hodgson MP, Chair of the APPG comments: “I am very pleased by this decision, and look forward to seeing the impact it will have. The recognition that ovarian cancer is a major health concern for UK women is long overdue, so this is an important step forward, and one that could potentially save many women’s lives.”

Campaigner Eilish Colclough (pictured above), who has spoken to MPs on a number of occasions, said: “I am thrilled to hear such fantastic news. This has to be credited to the MPs and the APPG who took the fight from Target Ovarian Cancer and from listening to women like me and wanting to make a change. This means so much to me and all the other women with ovarian cancer in the future. Rest assured we will not sit on our laurels as there is still so much to be done.”

Judy Walding has recurrent ovarian cancer and raised the issue of symptom awareness with her local MP for Northampton Michael Ellis. He is now a member of the APPG and backed the call for a symptoms awareness programme. Judy says: “This is wonderful news. Finally the government is taking steps towards stopping needless deaths from this disease. Target Ovarian Cancer and its supporters like me are doing our best to improve symptoms awareness, but a large scale campaign will make a huge impact.”