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Posted by Tilean Clarke, Professional Support Manager on Wednesday 9 October 2013

I will hardly need to tell you that ovarian cancer can be a challenging disease to diagnose and often women with ovarian cancer experience delays and a protracted diagnosis which can have serious ramifications for their long-term health.  It’s a story we hear all to often.  But we also know that for GPs, seeing many women with symptoms such as bloating, it is really hard for them to spot when something serious might be going on.

It turned out we weren’t alone in our desire to develop a tool to support patients and GPs in communicating more effectively with each other about the symptoms of ovarian cancer so that the diagnostic process can happen as swiftly as possible. Macmillan Cancer Support  were also very keen, something we learned when we met to share details of our work in early diagnosis.
They currently produce a range of ’10 Top Tips’ with a clinical focus and have a large network of Macmillan GPs around the country so they could be instrumental in helping us circulate our tools to a clinical audience. Coupled with our experience of working with those directly and indirectly affected by ovarian cancer, and the evidence from our Target Ovarian Cancer Pathfinder Studies 2009 and 2012 that a third of women were experiencing severe delays in their diagnosis, we knew that the talents and experience of both charities would ensure the ’10 Top Tips’ for ovarian cancer would be delivered with both a patient and GP focus. Macmillan was only too happy to work in partnership with us.
It was certainly a smooth process and enjoyable experience working with Macmillan, as we had the same goal of supporting primary care to diagnose ovarian cancer earlier. Together we listened to each other’s ideas and had equal input. We created a focus group which comprised of five Macmillan GPs and five women who support us and who had mixed experiences in getting their diagnosis, in order to understand where the challenges lie in diagnosing ovarian cancer in a timely manner, but most importantly to identify the opportunities for diagnosing ovarian cancer quicker.
The process took just a few months from the date of the focus group to the final branded 10 Top Tips, taking several steps to ensure the 10 Top Tips were impactful and achieving what we set out to do. Both design and communication teams were incredible in making sure we had equal branding across the products to demonstrate the joint partnership work that was involved and we are both delighted with the final products. To download our new 10 Top Tips for both patients and GPs, click here. Please make sure you pass on the link to others!  We will be promoting them in force at the annual Royal College of GPs conference next week.
You can download a copy here

tilean-clarkeTilean Clarke, Professional Support Manager