Raising awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms

 Why awareness matters

  • Only 3% of women in the UK know the symptoms of ovarian cancer
  • Many women believe the myth that ovarian cancer is a ‘silent killer’
  • Half of all women confuse ovarian cancer with cervical cancer
  • Women with ovarian cancer often experience delays in getting a diagnosis

Ovarian cancer can be a challenging disease to recognise and diagnose and many women will wait over 6 months for a correct diagnosis. When they receive their diagnosis the majority of women in the UK will have advanced disease which can be difficult to treat. A lack of awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms among both women and health professionals can contribute to delays in diagnosis.

Encouragingly, research has shown that ovarian cancer is not a ‘silent killer’ and that there are symptoms that women can look out for.

As yet, there is no national screening programme for ovarian cancer like the breast and cervical screening programmes. It is vital that women develop better awareness of symptoms and have the confidence to ask their GP to ‘rule out’ ovarian cancer.

If you would like to test your knowledge of ovarian cancer and its symptoms why not take our Quick Cancer Quiz. Or, to get the latest information on symptoms download our leaflet or visit our symptoms pages.

What is Target Ovarian Cancer doing to raise awareness?

Target Ovarian Cancer is passionate that all women and health professionals are aware of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. We are working throughout the year on projects to raise awareness of symptoms, here are a few examples.

  • GPs: We commissioned BMJ Learning and RCGP e-Learning, leading providers of educational resources for health professionals, to develop a series of online learning module that will radically alter GP’s understanding of ovarian cancer. The modules are free for all GPs to access. Over 6000 GPs have already completed the modules.
  • Pharmacists and women: Target Ovarian Cancer has been working closely with pharmacy chains including Superdrug, Rowlands and Morrisons to raise awareness of symptoms among pharmacists and women in the general public. Over 100,000 symptoms leaflets have been circulated as part of this campaign.
  • Occupational Health professionals: We have developed a programme of activity that occupational health professionals can access to update their knowledge and that of their colleagues on ovarian cancer.
  • ‘Let’s Talk’ awareness programme: Is for individuals who want to use their experience of ovarian cancer to raise awareness of symptoms. 'Let’s Talk' includes a booklet packed with awareness raising tips and ideas and day courses at venues across the country.

What you can do to help

It's great that you are thinking about helping Target Ovarian Cancer raise awareness of symptoms. A woman has a 1 in 50 chance of developing ovarian cancer in her life. By letting 50 women know about the symptoms, you will be giving one of these women the chance to have an early diagnosis - which gives her the best chance of having a long and good life.

Awareness events are a great opportunity to raise some vital funds for Target Ovarian Cancer. For example; if you are giving a talk you might like to take along a collection tin, or if you hold an awareness quiz you might consider asking the participants for a small entry fee. People often want to donate so why not give them the chance.

For more fundraising ideas visit the fundraising page or to order fundraising materials visit the orders page.

Raising awareness of ovarian cancer can be as simple as:


What you will find on these pages

For lots more ideas on raising awareness why not visit the ‘Let’s Talk’ pages. Here you will find more information on our materials and courses designed specifically for people like you, who want to raise awareness of ovarian cancer.

Visit the community pages and keep up to date with the activities other awareness raisers have organising.

To order symptoms leaflets and poster and also other items that will support your awareness raising activities and events head to the order materials page.