In February, a small group of volunteer research advocates, supporters and charity staff went to visit one of our research projects at the University of Surrey. Susan Booth, Director of Fundraising at Target Ovarian Cancer, shares what she learned on the day and why supporting such research is essential.
At Target Ovarian Cancer not only do we look for ways to improve survival outcomes, we also focus on improving quality of life so women can live well with ovarian cancer. We knew it was important to fund this palliative care project as we could see a very tangible difference that we could make, quickly, to the quality of life for women with ovarian cancer who develop a bowel obstruction.
Dr Agnieszka Michael and her team at the University of Surrey will assess a new way of providing nutrition to women who have inoperable bowel obstruction. Bowel obstruction causes significant issues to women, stopping them from being able to absorb essential food and nutrients. Providing the right nutritional support for women with inoperable bowel obstruction can be extremely challenging.
Dr Michael’s team want to test the liquid elemental diet which is used in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. They want to prove that it can be tolerated by the women and write a new guideline to help healthcare professionals across the UK so they can offer this to women to give them greater comfort and control.
Lindsay Allan, an oncology nutritionist on the research team explained more about the biology and talked about some of women she had worked with where the elemental diet had made a huge difference to their quality of life. We all then tasted the liquid to see if it tasted ok, which it did.
She said “Many women with ovarian cancer will go on to develop an inoperable bowel obstruction. The success of this project will mean thousands of women will be given the chance to be at home rather than spend weeks in the hospital, and to have some control of their diet.”
They will be recruiting 35 women for the trial over the next 18 months and will collect all the data they need to prove this could be a viable option for women.
It was a very emotional visit. For me as a fundraiser I came away with such a sense of inspiration and pride in what we have achieved and will go on to achieve as a community of people dedicated to tackling this devastating disease. It’s made me ever more passionate to ensure we get as much support as possible to continue making things like this possible. It was so amazing to be able to show some of our supporters directly what their funding will achieve.
I hope that reading this story, you will also feel inspired and proud of what you are doing to help. Thank you. Together, as a community, we will help women with ovarian cancer live well and for longer.
Please do get in touch with our support line if you have been affected by this blog and have questions about your own situation. Please donate now to help us fund more exciting projects like this that will make a huge difference for women with ovarian cancer.