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Posted by Target Ovarian Cancer on Wednesday 20 January 2016

Women with ovarian cancer are not getting access to the right specialist clinical professionals, a new analysis by Target Ovarian Cancer has shown.

Research, from Public Health England, shows that two in five women with ovarian cancer reported that they either did not have a named nurse they could contact with worries about their cancer care (33 per cent) or did not know if they had one (6 per cent).

A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) in gynae-oncology is a senior nurse who has had extra training to look after women with gynaecological cancers such as ovarian cancer. Every woman with ovarian cancer should be referred to a CNS or a gynaecology nurse when they are diagnosed, as these nurses can offer vital support and advice during and after treatment.  

Support and advice for women living with cancer

Alarmingly, nearly one in five (19 per cent) women with ovarian cancer also said that they didn’t know who to contact if they had concerns about living with cancer. Good quality, timely advice and information can help women and their families take charge of their treatment and put in place some of the practical and emotional support they need.

Dr Sharon Tate, Head of Primary Care Development for Target Ovarian Cancer, said: “Clinical Nurse Specialists play a vital role in supporting women with ovarian cancer. Not only do they offer advice on treatment, but they also offer emotional support, which must not be underestimated."

“It’s extremely worrying that some women are not provided with the right support to help make their cancer journey easier. That’s why we’re calling for every woman with ovarian cancer to have access to a clinical nurse specialist.”

Vickie Gadd, a Clinical Nurse Specialist from Kent, said: “Dealing with the constraints that the NHS presents is challenging to make sure that you are still able to effectively facilitate a smooth patient journey, but it is immensely rewarding to be able to communicate with people in a way so that even at a time of real worry, you can ease their concern. I really enjoy talking to patients and their carers often about difficult subjects, and enabling them to leave the discussion with a better understanding of what may be happening and why.”

Target Ovarian Cancer is relaunching a resource for gynaecological cancer Clinical Nurse Specialists. The first of its kind, the CNS Hub is an information portal designed specifically for CNSs with the aim of making it easier for them to support women with ovarian cancer.

Useful links:

Watch Clinical Nurse Specialist Debbie Fitzgerald explain the role of the CNS