Northern Ireland’s Public Health Agency (PHA) is currently undertaking a research programme around cancer awareness and early diagnosis before launching a cancer awareness campaign in late 2014, with ovarian cancer to be included in materials. If it gets the green light, it will feature adverts on TV, radio, print and online.
In the interim the PHA will distribute ovarian cancer symptoms awareness posters and leaflets throughout Northern Ireland ensuring that women and GPs are aware of the symptoms.
Una Crudden’s campaigning
This important step forward is due to the sustained campaigning that Una Crudden herself a woman with ovarian cancer has done in Northern Ireland. Despite undergoing four rounds of chemotherapy she has also spent the past five years trying to persuade the Northern Ireland Assembly to launch an ovarian cancer awareness campaign.
Una Crudden says "I've been lobbying for two years urging the NI Health Minister to create a solo ovarian cancer campaign as Northern Ireland has the lowest awareness of the disease in UK. This is unacceptable. This interim PHA campaign is better than nothing as time is not on my side but if the campaign does not change statistics members of the Legislative Assembly political lobbyists and ovarian cancer sufferers have told me they will continue my campaign efforts urging for a solo ovarian cancer campaign using TV radio as well as print and online to create awareness."
Una has been meeting with the PHA to advise on campaign strategy. Most recently due to ill health she has been unable to attend meetings. She is currently in palliative care being cared for by hospice nurses under direction of her GP. She remains closely involved through the participation of her representative Ann Adair who also has ovarian cancer and Kirsty McQuoid who has been giving pro bono PR support.
Una Crudden says "I would like to thank Target Ovarian Cancer for helping us campaign in NI. I would like to especially thank them for joining me in Stormont and at the Public Health Agency on numerous occasions to help me lobby on ovarian cancer awareness. With their help I have already educated 42% of NI NHS GPs who failed to know the NICE guidance for detecting ovarian cancer. Let's hope the PHA does a great job raising awareness amongst the public in Northern Ireland."