Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Women still being overlooked as ovarian cancer continues to devastate and claim lives

Women still being overlooked as ovarian cancer continues to devastate and claim lives

Dear Editor,

 

Women are still being overlooked as ovarian cancer continues to devastate and claim lives.

 

Progress is not being made quick enough, and as one of those diagnosed with the deadliest gynaecological cancer, I know we deserve more.

 

I’d been suffering with a bloated tummy, feeling full quickly, and misdiagnosed water infections for over a year. I visited my GP, but my symptoms were confused as other things, so I kept putting up with it.

 

In the meantime, my husband was diagnosed with bowel cancer. This was a shock to us both, but it made me consider my own health, and after doing some research I realised I had the classic symptoms of ovarian cancer. Persistent bloating, feeling full quickly, tummy pain, and needing to wee more often. I went back to the GP but thought “no, we can’t be that unlucky”.

 

But I was diagnosed with stage I ovarian cancer, another shock in our life. I went from caring for someone with cancer, to being someone with cancer.

Since my diagnosis I’ve realised so much more needs to be done to save lives. If diagnosed at the earliest stages 9 in 10 women will survive1. But two thirds of women are diagnosed late, when the cancer is harder to treat2.

 

To get faster diagnoses, we need widespread awareness and more support for GPs and healthcare professionals. Right now, over a quarter of women make three or more visits to their GP before being referred for tests and nearly a third wait over three months from first visiting their GP for the correct diagnosis. No GP wants to miss a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

 

Together with Target Ovarian Cancer, we’re calling for a combination of national symptoms awareness campaigns, more training and support for GPs and urgent investment in the Clinical Nurse Specialist workforce. This will lead to earlier diagnosis of ovarian cancer, access for all to treatment, and widespread improvements in support, notably mental health support.

 

Editor, we’re calling on you and your readers to help us. Email your MP telling them that urgent action is needed to raise the profile of ovarian cancer and the devastating impact it’s having on people’s lives. Please do this today.

 

Find out more by visiting www.targetovariancancer.org.uk.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.

 

With best wishes,

Diane Boothby

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