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Posted by Target Ovarian Cancer on Tuesday 23 June 2015

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has today released updated guidance to help GPs and other primary care professionals recognise the signs and symptoms of cancer, and refer people for the right tests faster, with the goal of seeing more people diagnosed earlier, potentially saving thousands of lives a year.

Target Ovarian Cancer was involved in producing the NICE guidance for the recognition and initial management of ovarian cancer in 2011, which has been incorporated into this new guidance. The format of the guidance however has changed, focusing on symptoms that a patient might experience, rather than a cancer-by-cancer approach, in order to help GPs think about the possibility of cancer earlier on.

Target Ovarian Cancer’s Chief Executive, Annwen Jones, said: “We welcome the introduction of this updated guidance and the new patient-centred format, which should help women receive an earlier diagnosis. We already support this approach with our online GP training, one of which is on bloating and other abdominal symptoms, to help GPs put the patient’s experiences first."

“Late diagnosis is a major issue in ovarian cancer, and we have long been campaigning for the government to run a national symptoms awareness programme for ovarian cancer, so that women present more quickly to their GPs. Any steps that increase the likelihood of a woman being diagnosed earlier should be applauded. Today Target Ovarian Cancer has launched its new campaign, The Ovarian Cancer Postcode Lottery, which highlights the issue of regional inequalities in awareness, access to trials and treatment and survival. We are encouraged that the NICE guidance recognises this same disparity and the need to improve consistency in diagnosis and care.”