In the UK, the five-year ovarian cancer survival rate is just 43 per cent1. But if diagnosed at the earliest stage, up to 90 per cent of women with ovarian cancer would survive for five years or more2.
There is as yet no national screening programme for ovarian cancer, so it is vital that women develop better awareness of symptoms of ovarian cancer. At the moment, only 3 per cent of women in the UK are very confident at spotting a symptom of ovarian cancer3.
What needs to change?
- There is an urgent need for a government-led, national ovarian cancer symptoms awareness programme. A campaign funded at this level, with advertising, will have the impact required to save significant lives.
- More women need to know that ovarian cancer exists, and that they need to take their symptoms seriously. We should never hear “But I’d never heard of ovarian cancer” again.
- GPs need to increase their awareness of ovarian cancer, and send women for diagnostic tests more quickly.
- All GPs across the UK need consistent and easy access to diagnostic tests.
Our campaign so far
Our projects to increase early diagnosis and raise ovarian cancer awareness include:
- Be Clear on Cancer: Target Ovarian Cancer has campaigned strongly for ovarian cancer to be included in the government’s Be Clear on Cancer programme.
- National ovarian cancer awareness campaigns: In Scotland, the Scottish Executive has already confirmed that ovarian cancer will be included in the Detect Cancer Early programme; in Northern Ireland, the Public Health Agency is currently undertaking a research programme around cancer awareness and early diagnosis before launching a cancer awareness campaign in late 2014.
- Online learning for GPs: We commissioned free online learning modules that will radically alter GPs’ understanding of ovarian cancer symptoms. Well over 25 per cent of GPs have already completed the modules.
- Let’s Talk awareness programme: Let’s Talk is a training programme for anyone who wants to raise awareness of ovarian cancer.
- Work with pharmacies: We work with pharmacy chains to raise awareness of symptoms among pharmacists and the general public. Over 27,000 leaflets have been distributed as part of this campaign this year.
- Access to diagnostic tests: Our campaigning has led to a change in national policy and a major investment in transvaginal ultrasound equipment across England. Despite this, one in ten GPs has been refused access to tests in the last year4. We are continuing to work to change this.
Help us campaign
We could not achieve what we do without our volunteers and advocates who raise ovarian cancer awareness in their communities. Ways you can help:
- Get involved in our Let’s Talk programme, for those wanting to raise awareness, whether through talking to friends and family, holding a local talk, speaking to the media or your MP.
- Hand out copies of our symptoms awareness leaflet to your friends, family and contacts. Use our order form to order leaflets and posters.
- Hold an awareness-raising event, like a talk or quiz. Awareness events are also a great opportunity to fundraise for Target Ovarian Cancer.
- Ask your GP to complete one of our accredited online learning modules.
- Ask your MP to join the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ovarian Cancer.
- Find out more about how you can help us campaign.