Survival rates are everything.
This year, cancer charities have united to shine a spotlight on World Ovarian Cancer Day, urging women to sign a pledge and share their treasured bonding moments online.
“Target Ovarian Cancer, Ovarian Cancer Action, Ovacome and The Eve Appeal are proud to support World Ovarian Cancer Day and celebrate women’s health around the world” said the chief executives of the four UK ovarian cancer charities in a joint statement.
“7,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, and almost a third face delays of up to six months before a correct diagnosis is made. Working together to raise awareness about this often unrecognised cancer is essential to improving early diagnosis.”
At present, if diagnosed with ovarian cancer, less than 50% of women survive longer than five years.
Ovarian cancer is the fourth biggest cancer risk for women in the UK.
Speaking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, Professor Hani Gabra, a world leading ovarian cancer expert and the Director of the Ovarian Cancer Research Centre at Imperial College, spoke of a new trial that may change that: "There is no screening test for ovarian cancer, and a lot of people are working on it. A huge CTOX trial is taking place with 200,000 women, who are attending GP surgeries and are being screened with ultrasound.
"The problem with screening is that at present, the tests aren’t sufficiently sensitive to detect ovarian cancer. So the consequences of doing a test and finding a lump in the pelvis is that you have to do an operation. If you have to do 40 operations to find one case you’ll end up killing someone. Where data has been published, it doesn’t seem to be beneficial, but this trial. the results of which will be published in 2015 may change that."
As screening isn't an option, it is even more important that women learn to read the signs for themselves.
Research by Target Ovarian Cancer has found that almost six out of 10 women, including those at higher risk, were unable to recall any of the 10 symptoms of the disease.
Professor Gabra says however: "The key thing with the symptoms is if you are experiencing them on MOST days. If you go for a meal and get gastroenteritis, you’ll get all of those symptoms, but then it settles quite quickly. If you go to the GP – quite often – they will think of ovarian cancer straight away, others think it is a bug, which can lead to a wait."
Story continues below the slideshow:
Here are five signs of ovarian cancer to become aware of...
According to the study, conducted by the Health Behaviour Research Centre at University College London, one-year survival rates for ovarian cancer are considerably lower in the UK than in comparable countries.
The type of ovarian cancer that tends to affect younger women, is usually related to genetics. He adds: "It typically affects women in their late 60s but as has been indicated with the passing of Pierce Brosnan's daughter, there is another group who have inherited genes which are faulty – then there is a predisposition to ovarian cancer. The clues come from someone in your family getting ovarian cancer at a young age or from there being multiple cancer in the family – mainly breast or ovarian."
Please join us by signing the pledge form and submitting your photos and videos of your unique bonding moments to www.ovariancancerday.org.
For more information about ovarian cancer, visit Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre.