Medical Negligence

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month kicks off

Estimated read time: 3 mins

Carrie Tennick, March 02, 2020

March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, giving people who have been affected by the disease the chance to raise publicity.

When one in 50 UK women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetimes, it is essential that women know what they’re looking for when it comes to symptoms as there is no screening test for the disease.

The most common symptoms include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly and urinary issues, such as feeling like you have to go to the toilet often or always feeling like you have to go.

Other symptoms include fatigue, having an upset stomach, back pain, pain during sex, constipation, menstrual changes and abdominal swelling while losing weight.

Risk and survival

The main risk factors for ovarian cancer are family history and age – women over 50 are more at risk, while most cases are diagnosed in women over 65.

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) reports that there are an average of 7,470 cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed annually. In 2017, 4,116 women lost their fights against the disease. It has also found that 46% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for five years or more, while 35% of women survive their disease for 10 years or more.

Survival rates are highest for women aged under 40. Almost nine in 10 women in England diagnosed with ovarian cancer aged 15-39 survive their disease for five years or more, compared with a fifth of women diagnosed aged 80 and over.

In more optimistic news, CRUK said that survival rates for ovarian cancer are improving, having almost doubled in the last 40 years in the UK.

Delayed diagnosis

Target Ovarian Cancer found that women are losing their lives after facing delays in ovarian cancer diagnosis. The charity found that a woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer at an early stage has more than a 90% chance of surviving. But 20% are too unwell to receive any treatment by the time they finally receive a diagnosis, while 32% die within a year of being diagnosed.

The organisation is calling for GPs to better understand the disease. According to its report, 44% of GPs think ovarian cancer only presents symptoms in the later stages – but 86% of women with early stage ovarian cancer report symptoms.

It added that in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, key diagnostic tests are not carried out at the same time, which could result in delays. Target Ovarian Cancer is calling on the government to shorten the diagnostic pathway in these countries, as has been done in Scotland. it has pointed out that there is no time to lose when testing for cancer.

The charity’s chief executive Annwen Jones said: “Time is of the essence when facing a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. The countless delays women currently experience are completely unacceptable.

“Target Ovarian Cancer has been at the forefront of efforts to improve diagnosis and save lives, but time is running out. What we urgently need right now is concerted action by governments across the UK to address these atrocious delays in diagnosis. Together, we can stop women needlessly dying from this disease.”

If you’ve struggled with getting an ovarian cancer diagnosis, you could be able to make a claim for compensation to help with the pain and suffering you’ve been through. Just get in touch to find out how First4Lawyers can help you during this distressing time.

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