Women with ovarian cancer met their MPs at the largest event of its kind at an event hosted by Sharon Hodgson MP in the House of Commons to launch Target Ovarian Cancer’s ‘Six Simple Steps’ campaign to recruit parliamentary champions.
MPs heard first-hand what it is like to have ovarian cancer in the UK, where just over 30 percent of women survive for five years after their diagnosis.
The little-known disease claims 4,400 lives each year in the UK where 6,800 are diagnosed annually. Target Ovarian Cancer’s campaign aims to save up to 400 lives per year with the support of MPs promoting earlier diagnosis and improved treatment. A reduction of this size would mean the UK could match average survival rates for ovarian cancer in Europe.
Eilish Colclough, a 42 year-old mother-of-five from Derbyshire and a committed campaigner for Target Ovarian Cancer who has terminal ovarian cancer, addressed the event.
Eilish said: “Charities and volunteers like myself are working hard to publicise symptoms. But until parliamentary champions actually step forward and take up the gauntlet of improving survival, I fear many thousands of women will continue to lose their lives every year, unnecessarily.”
Sharon said: “I was thrilled to be able to host and speak at Target Ovarian Cancer’s parliamentary reception. Too many women die from ovarian cancer each year, and it is crucial that we raise awareness of this issue among MPs so something can be done about it. The Six Simple Steps are a great way of doing this, and I’ll be making sure the MPs who came to the event are often reminded of them.”
Target Ovarian Cancer’s chief executive Annwen Jones said: “This is one of the most important events in our campaign to save lives from ovarian cancer.
“Every MP has been given a personalised pledge card and we’re inviting them to sign up to our ‘Six Simple Steps’ campaign.
“We believe that there will be firm support from MPs for our aims.”
The Six Simple Steps are:
· ensure studies examining why UK survival rates are so low in comparison to others are completed and remedial action taken
· improve awareness of symptoms amongst women and health professionals
· ensure all GPs have access to urgent diagnostic tests
· ensure all women have access to a clinical nurse specialist
· improve levels of emotional support available to women, and
· ensure women have equitable access to clinical trials and new treatments.
The survival rate for ovarian cancer has improved little in the last 30 years, unlike breast cancer which has increased from 50 to 80 percent over the same period. At present three-quarters of women in the UK are diagnosed with late-stage cancer, which means it has already spread.
For further information about ovarian cancer symptoms or about our campaigning work, visit www.targetovarian.org.uk or call 020 7923 5470.
Full details of the campaign can be found at: www.targetovarian.org.uk/sixsimplesteps
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Sharon Hodgson MP
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