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Una Crudden

Una's story

"I thought to myself if no one speaks out, nothing is ever going to change in Northern Ireland, and women will continue to suffer. One voice had to be better than no voice at all. And so my crusade began."

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. Sadly, most women are diagnosed after the ovarian cancer has spread, making it more difficult and complex to treat.

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.

Symptoms poster

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. Over 30 per cent of GPs have already completed the modules.
  • 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. Here are some ways you can help: 

Become an awareness ambassador

We rely on volunteers to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and its symptoms with local and national communities. As a small charity, we just can’t do it without you. Becoming an awareness ambassador isn’t difficult. You can start small and raise awareness in your community. Or you can let us know that you’d like to help give talks to schools or local groups when we get invited. We’ll give you all the support you need. Contact us to get involved.

Share the symptoms

Help us spread the word by sharing our symptoms image with your friends and followers on Facebook or Twitter:

 

Would you recognise the symptoms? Please share to make more women aware. #OvarianCancerAwarenessMonth

Posted by Target Ovarian Cancer on Thursday, 26 March 2015

Share our video

We asked women with ovarian cancer to tell us about their experience of the symptoms. Please share it to help us spread the word.

Stay up to date

References

  1. Cancer Research UK [online]. Accessed 29 Jul 2014.
  2. Cancer Research UK [online]. Accessed 29 Jul 2014.
  3. Target Ovarian Cancer Pathfinder Study 2012. Ipsos Mori. 15 Jan 2014, page 15. 
  4. Target Ovarian Cancer Pathfinder Study 2012. Ipsos Mori. 15 Jan 2014, page 77.

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