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Posted by Target Ovarian Cancer on Tuesday 8 May 2018

An influential group of MPs has released results of its first ever inquiry into improving ovarian cancer diagnosis, making recommendations that could save hundreds of lives each year. The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Ovarian Cancer is a committed group of MPs who campaign for improvements in ovarian cancer within parliament, and released the report today for World Ovarian Cancer Day.

11 women die every day from ovarian cancer in the UK. Survival rates are among the lowest in Europe and less than half of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer survive five years after diagnosis.

The inquiry Diagnosing ovarian cancer sooner: what more can be done? [PDF] delved into ovarian cancer prevention, screening, awareness and the diagnostic pathway. Evidence from leading figures in combating cancer was heard by parliamentarians and chaired by by APPG Chair Sharon Hodgson MP and Vice Chair Lee Rowley MP.

Recommendations included:

  • A national awareness campaign for ovarian cancer, to raise awareness from current low levels. Just 1 in 5 women can name bloating as a key symptom of the disease
  • Changes that would ensure all women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed within the Government’s new 28-day target for cancer diagnoses.
  • Improved access to genetic testing, which could prevent an estimated 15 per cent of all cases of ovarian cancer caused by the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations (the ‘Jolie gene’)

Contributing experts include Professor Chris Harrison, National Clinical Director for Cancer, Professor Anne Mackie, Director of Screening at Public Health England, and Lucy Elliss-Brookes, Head of Cancer Analysis at the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service.

Sharon Hodgson MP said: "This report highlights that progress has been made in recent years – from improved access to diagnostic tests for GPs to new, clearer guidelines for diagnosis. But there is still more to do. Alongside my fellow parliamentarians, I will continue to act as a champion for women with ovarian cancer in parliament. Together we will work to make sure the recommendations set out in this report are acted on."

Lee Rowley MP said: "During the inquiry we heard from leading experts in UK cancer care. It is clear that while there are areas where we are leading the way, we must continue to look and learn, both from other cancers and other countries. The cancer strategy for England offers a real opportunity to deliver a step-change in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Following the publication of our report today, I look forward to learning more from NHS England and Public Health England on their plans for how the cancer strategy will deliver for ovarian cancer."

Rebecca Rennison, Director of Public Affairs and Services at Target Ovarian Cancer, the charity secretariat to the APPG on Ovarian Cancer, said: "Target Ovarian Cancer works alongside parliamentarians to secure the changes we need in awareness and diagnosis of ovarian cancer so women in the UK have the best possible chance of surviving this disease. While progress has been made, there is still so much to do, in particular if the cancer strategy for England is to deliver for less common cancers such as ovarian cancer. This report sets out what needs to happen and we look forward to working with parliamentarians on its implementation."

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