Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month 2021 Begins

March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in the UK, giving charities, businesses and individuals the chance the platform to raise awareness of the disease.

Every year, around 7,400 women in the UK are diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Importance of early detection

Ovarian cancer has one of the lowest survival rates across the cancers. For women with the disease, 35% will survive their cancer for 10 years or more. In comparison, 76% of breast cancer patients and 91% of men with testicular cancer will survive this long.

Cancer Research UK also said that more than nine in 10 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer at its earliest stage survive their disease for at least five years. But just over one in 10 women will survive their cancer when it is diagnosed at the most advanced stage.

This is why so many organisations have made it their mission to raise awareness of the symptoms of the disease to improve earlier detection.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Feeling full quickly or loss of appetite
  • Pelvic and stomach pain
  • Persistent bloating
  • Urinary differences – needing to urinate more urgently or more than usual

Less common symptoms include:

  • Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or changes in bowel habits
  • Unexplained tiredness
  • Unexplained weight loss

If you experience these symptoms more than 12 times a month, you should see your doctor – especially if you’re over 50. They could be symptoms of other conditions, but it is important to find out as soon as possible.

Impact of the pandemic

The ongoing Covid-19 crisis has put a huge strain on all aspects of the health service. With resources stretched, many people felt a lot of uncertainty about seeing their doctors.

This is seen in a recent survey by Cardiff University and Cancer Research UK, which found that almost half of people with the potential symptoms of cancer didn’t see their GPs during the first wave of the pandemic.

Target Ovarian Cancer, a leading charity, has added that the pandemic “has made diagnosing ovarian cancer even harder”. The charity is calling on people to help raise funds and awareness, which will help GPs spot the disease earlier, inform more people about the disease’s symptoms and support even more women with ovarian cancer.

Getting involved

A virtual coffee morning is one idea raised by Target Ovarian Cancer. The charity suggests the Bake for Change event to bring friends, family and your community together to raise money.

It is also suggesting you “take the traditional 10,000 steps a day challenge further” by walking 11,000 steps every day in March to raise funds. This is because 11 women die every day in the UK from ovarian cancer.

The charity is also suggesting that because one in 50 women will be diagnosed in their lifetime, you tell 50 people about the symptoms of ovarian cancer. You can use social media and email, and even post leaflets and downloadable posters in local shops.

When early detection and diagnosis is so important to survival, raising as much awareness of the symptoms as possible is vital.


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