Early diagnosis key to preventing ovarian cancer

Leading charity calls for awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms as UK survival rate fails to improve

Woman in doctors surgery
Woman in doctors surgery
(Image credit: REX)

Leading charity calls for awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms as UK survival rate fails to improve

An early diagnosis is the key to recovery, says charity Target Ovarian Cancer as they release new figures.

Early symptoms such as persistent bloating, abdominal pain and the need to urinate more often that usual, can be associated with more common ailments. However with around 6,500 women in Britain diagnosed with the cancer each year Target Ovarian Cancer is calling for greater awareness among GPs and patients alike.

Currently, the survival rate for ovarian cancer in Britain is 36%, meaning that around 4,400 out of the 6,500 women diagnosed lose their lives. Annwen Jones, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer says ‘If ovarian cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages, the survival rate rises to 70%. The sooner we can diagnose, the more women will survive. It’s that simple.’

A study commissioned by the charity showed that only 3% of the 1,004 women polled felt confident in recognizing the signs of ovarian cancer, which can often be miss-diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome. By contrast, 75% of the group were familiar with the signs of breast cancer.

The survival rate for breast cancer has risen in the past 30 years from 50% to over 80%, while the corresponding figure for ovarian cancer has remained the same.

Target Ovarian Cancer is campaigning for ovarian cancer to be added to the government's Be Clear on Cancer project, which will see public service announcements about the disease feature on television.


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