Campaigning on ovarian cancer across the UK

Learn more about the issues facing those with ovarian cancer and who you need to influence in your area of the UK.

Healthcare is devolved across the UK. This means any decision-making on issues affecting those with ovarian cancer is the responsibility of the different legislative bodies of the UK. For England, this is the Westminster parliament, Scotland the Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland the Northern Ireland Assembly and Wales the Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament.

Who do you need to influence? 

Because healthcare is devolved, the elected representatives you're targeting may vary depending on where you live in the UK. If you live in:  

  • England – this will be your Member of Parliament (MP). Each MP represents one constituency, of which there are 650 across the UK. 
  • Scotland – this will be your Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). You will be represented by one constituency MSP and seven regional MSPs.
  • Northern Ireland – this will be your Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). You will be represented by six MLAs for your constituency. 
  • Wales – this will be your Members of the Senedd (MSs). You will be represented by one constituency MS and four regional MSs. 

No matter where you live or who your elected representatives are, their job is to represent you. Elected representatives can make decisions to improve the lives of people in their constituency or use their power to influence decision-makers in government. 

What are the issues in your country?

The issues affecting people with ovarian cancer may be different depending on where they live in the UK. In every UK nation, we know that:   

  • Too many women are being diagnosed with ovarian cancer at a late stage. Every woman needs to be diagnosed early to ensure they have the best possible chance of survival.
  • Too few women know the symptoms of ovarian cancer: persistent bloated tummy, always feeling full, tummy pain and needing to wee more. Much more needs to be done to ensure women know the symptoms to look out for so they can visit their GP at the earliest opportunity.
  • There are still gaps in GP knowledge of ovarian cancer with 44 per cent believing symptoms only present in the later stages of the disease. Every GP in the UK needs to be trained on the symptoms of ovarian cancer and the referral pathway. 
  • More women need to have access to the best possible treatment once they've been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. At the moment, in some countries there are significant regional differences in access to treatment. 

Find out more about what issues are affecting women with ovarian cancer across the UK:

England

Awareness 

  • NHS England launched the first-ever nationwide awareness campaign which includes ovarian cancer symptoms. This campaign needs to be continued. 

Diagnosis 

Treatment 

Scotland

Awareness

  • Only limited symptoms awareness campaigns have taken place. There needs to be a publicly-funded awareness campaign specifically focused on the symptoms of ovarian cancer so more women know to contact their GP as soon as they think something is wrong.

Diagnosis 

  • A shorter diagnostic pathway is in place. Women with suspected ovarian cancer can be referred for a CA125 blood test and ultrasound at the same time. 
  • Everyone referred for further investigation of suspected cancer in Scotland should find out if they do or do not have a cancer diagnosis within 28 days. More action needs to be taken to ensure this happens.

Treatment 

Northern Ireland

Awareness 

  • Only limited symptoms awareness campaigns have taken place. There needs to be a publicly-funded awareness campaign specifically focused on the symptoms of ovarian cancer so more women know to contact their GP as soon as they think something is wrong.

Diagnosis 

  • Currently, an ultrasound can only take place after a CA125 blood test comes back showing a raised result. A shorter diagnostic pathway is needed so more women can be diagnosed earlier. 
  • Everyone referred for further investigation of suspected cancer in Northern Ireland should find out if they do or do not have a cancer diagnosis within 28 days. More action needs to be taken to ensure this happens. We welcome the announcement that Northern Ireland will publish a new cancer strategy. 

Treatment  

Wales

Awareness 

  • Only limited symptoms awareness campaigns have taken place. There needs to be a publicly-funded awareness campaign specifically focused on the symptoms of ovarian cancer so more women know to contact their GP as soon as they think something is wrong.

Diagnosis 

  • Currently, an ultrasound can only take place after a CA125 blood test comes back showing a raised result. A shorter diagnostic pathway is needed so more women can be diagnosed earlier.
  • Everyone referred for further investigation of suspected cancer in Wales should find out if they do or do not have a cancer diagnosis within 28 days. We welcome the release of the Welsh government's quality statement for cancer. Now there needs to be a cancer strategy that outlines how early diagnosis in Wales can be improved.

Treatment  

If you'd like more information about the issues affecting women with ovarian cancer in your area of the UK, email us: campaigns@targetovariancancer.org.uk.