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Campaign for ovarian cancer awareness as figures show only a third of women get early stage diagnosis

17 Nov 2023 3 minute read
Siân Gwenllian MS (r) joined Target Ovarian Cancer as they presented their petition to the Welsh Government

The Plaid Cymru MS for Arfon has joined in the UK’s leading ovarian cancer charity’s campaign for increased awareness of the disease.

This week Siân Gwenllian joined Target Ovarian Cancer as they presented their petition to the Welsh Government.

Together with the National Federation of Women’s Institutes Wales who are running ‘See the Signs’ campaign, the charity gathered 755 signatures demanding the Welsh government take urgent action and fund a national awareness campaign on ovarian cancer symptoms.

Ovarian cancer can be devastating and survival rates across the UK are among the worst in Europe.

According to the campaign, a government-funded ovarian cancer symptom awareness campaign would help every woman in Wales know the symptoms to look out for so they can contact their GP at the earliest opportunity.

There are four key symptoms of ovarian cancer:

  • Persistent bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Urinary symptoms (e.g. needing to wee more often or more urgently).

Early stage

Siân Gwenllian MS she says that local stats on ovarian cancer paint a concerning picture.

She said: “Over 300 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year in Wales.

“In Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, the health board that covers my constituency, only 33 per cent of women are diagnosed at an early stage, stages 1 and 2.

“67 per cent of women are diagnosed at stages 3 or 4, where outcomes are more likely to be worse.

“The local stats paint a concerning picture, and the situation on a more national level are also a cause of worry.

“For example, 42 per cent of women in Wales wrongly believe that a cervical screening test detects ovarian cancer, which it doesn’t.

“This is another example of the neglect shown towards women’s health, an issue I have made a top priority during my time as an MS. Only in recent months I have fought for increased support for women suffering from endometriosis, and campaigned for a Mother and Baby Unit in North Wales to provide specialist care and treatment when a mother is suffering from a mental illness.

“And I felt it was important to join Target Ovarian Cancer and the WI’s call on the Government for a symptom awareness campaign and for the shortening of the diagnostic pathway for ovarian cancer.

“We know that faster diagnosis saves lives: the quicker the diagnosis is received, the more quickly treatment can begin.”

For more information on ovarian cancer, visit the Target Ovarian Cancer website and the WI See the Signs page.

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Sarah Good
Sarah Good
5 months ago

I wonder if andditionsly training amongst GPS on key women’s health issues is the key here. I have read many stories of (usually) older male GPs misdiagnosing symptoms of reproductive relate cancers in women as “period issues” or “menopause related”, with the patient either being diagnosed late (often by a female GP) or ultimately dying.

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