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Laura's story

"More women need to know because early diagnosis is the best chance of survival. It can be easy to dismiss the symptoms and put them down to something else but it is not worth the risk."

In the UK, the five-year ovarian cancer survival rate is just 46 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.

Our campaign so far

Target Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Diary appOur projects to increase early diagnosis and raise ovarian cancer awareness include:

  • Symptoms Diary app, an easy way for women to accurately record symptoms and communicate more effectively with their GP.
  • 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.
  • 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 and raise awareness 

We rely on volunteers to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and its symptoms with local and national communities: 

Start Making Noise for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

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


  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.

Read related news

Friday 29 January 2016
Last September saw the release of data showing that the number of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer following an emergency presentation (such as A&E) had fallen from 31 per cent in 2006 to 26 per cent in 2013. Further data released in November showed an increasing number of women being...
Friday 18 December 2015
Less than 24 hours ago, The UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) reported its final results, raising the prospect of a UK ovarian cancer screening programme at some point in the future. Target Ovarian Cancer’s Chief Executive Annwen Jones reflects on the impact of this...
Thursday 17 December 2015
The world’s largest research trial of its kind has today reported its final results, raising the prospect of a UK ovarian cancer screening programme at some point in the future. The UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) was coordinated by University College London and...
Monday 30 November 2015
Sam Wonfor from Standard Issue interviewed our charity ambassador Susan Calman this year. Read why she's supporting us... By the end of a phone call with Susan Calman, we’ve found common ground in our recent medical histories. In the past 12 months, we have both visited GPs with worried faces and...