We work with politicians and policy makers, developing the key evidence, campaigning for policy change, helping answer their queries on ovarian cancer, and introducing them to the people behind the facts – women affected by ovarian cancer.
It is essential that those who are making strategic policy decisions about healthcare hear directly from those who are affected. That’s why we hold Parliamentary Receptions in parliament to connect MPs to women with ovarian cancer from their constituency.
We also ensured that government ministers, the National Clinical Director for Cancer for NHS England and other key decision makers, hear from women with ovarian cancer when making decisions that concern them.
We have been directly involved in influencing important policy decisions to benefit women with ovarian cancer. Our Pathfinder Study in 2009 led to a national policy decision to make a major investment in ovarian cancer diagnostic tools, vastly helping GPs in England diagnose ovarian cancer earlier.
Our campaigning, together with that of many women and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ovarian Cancer, led to the trial inclusion of ovarian cancer in the Department of Health’s national symptom awareness programme, Be Clear on Cancer, with the first ever ovarian cancer awareness television adverts. We are now campaigning for this to be rolled out nationally.
Our parliamentary campaigning and advocacy work isn’t just restricted to Westminster. We have most recently worked with health teams in Scotland to develop ovarian cancer guidelines for Scottish health professionals. We’ve worked with local advocates and campaigners in Northern Ireland and are now involved in supporting a trial symptoms awareness campaign there. We’ve also met with advocates and ministers in Wales to campaign for increased awareness across Wales.
Our Six Simple Steps parliamentary campaign led to the formation of the first All Party Parliamentary Group on Ovarian Cancer (APPG) in England, chaired by Sharon Hodgson MP, for which Target Ovarian Cancer provides the secretariat. The APPG have had some phenomenal successes, including:
- Campaigning for the inclusion of ovarian cancer in the Be Clear on Cancer symptoms awareness programme.
- Improving access to drugs, for example intervening when there was a shortage of the drug Caelyx® (liposomal doxorubicin).
- Raising awareness of the link between familial breast and ovarian cancer, in conjunction with the APPG on breast cancer.
- By regularly hearing presentations from women with ovarian cancer, their families, clinicians and others working in the field, the APPG gives a voice to those living and working with ovarian cancer at the very highest level.
How can you get involved?
Contact your MP
If you haven’t already, why not contact your MP to ask about services in your area (you can find your local MP here), access to drugs in your area, and ask them what they’re doing to improve early diagnosis of ovarian cancer? Don’t forget to ask them to join the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ovarian Cancer too. If you have any queries about our work with politicians, please email us, or call 020 7923 5470.