Anna Soubry MP met yesterday with Target Ovarian Cancer to discuss the results released recently from the Target Ovarian Cancer Pathfinder Study, and the potential to extend local awareness pilots in order to improve early diagnosis.
Chief Executive Annwen Jones, Chair Joanna Barker, and Director of Public Affairs and Communications Frances Reid met with the Minister, who was joined by the Department of Health's Deputy Director (Cancer, Cardiovascular, End of Life Care and Dermatology) Jane Allberry.
They discussed in detail the delays women face in getting a correct diagnosis of ovarian cancer, from a lack of symptom awareness amongst women and GPs to delays in accessing diagnostic tests. The Pathfinder Study (2012) showed that
- One in four women with ovarian cancer wait three months or more before first visiting their GP about symptoms
- Having been to their GP, one in three women wait six months or more before getting a correct diagnosis
- One in then GPs had tests for ovarian cancer refused in the previous 12 months
However the study has also shown that awareness amongst the general population has risen over the last three years, with knowledge of the persistent symptom, bloating doubling to 17 per cent, and GPs knowledge of key symptoms also improving.
The charity believes that extending the Government's 'Be Clear on Cancer' local pilot awareness campaigns for ovarian cancer to a regional, then national campaign as quickly as possible, will offer the best chance to improve early diagnosis. This position is supported by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ovarian Cancer, chaired by Sharon Hodgson MP.
Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Frances Reid said, "It was a very positive and constructive meeting, where we were able to discuss in depth issues around early diagnosis, and how the Be Clear on Cancer campaigns could address these. In particular the Minister and Jane Allberry were very interested to hear that the local pilots have driven significant increased uptake in our GP learning tools, which were promoted as part of the campaign."
The decision as to which cancer awareness campaigns will be escalated in 2013/14 will be made public before the summer.