The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer and the support available to women living with the disease.
During the first wave of the pandemic, our report ‘Voices of women with ovarian cancer: the coronavirus pandemic and its impact’ [PDF], highlighted the stories of many women who:
- worried about contacting their GP with symptoms
- had their treatment disrupted
- were coping with the mental and emotional impact of being advised to shield
Amy completed a round of chemotherapy just before the first lockdown was announced. She had been due to meet with her doctor to discuss the next steps in her treatment, but the meeting had to be cancelled. She said:
It felt like I was in limbo. I didn’t know what was coming next. I couldn't go into the hospital because it was too risky. I was left not knowing if I needed further treatment at this time, when it was going to start again, or even if it was going to start again.
What needs to change?
We're calling on UK governments to ensure that as health services recover, diagnosis, treatment and support are returned to pre-pandemic levels as quickly as possible:
- We need to see awareness campaigns to encourage those with ovarian cancer symptoms to contact their GP.
- There needs to be sufficient investment to ensure that treatment and diagnostic pathways recover as quickly as possible. A shorter diagnostic pathway in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is needed, with a CA125 blood test and ultrasound carried out at the same time.
- Support services, particularly psychological support, must be a key part of recovery plans for cancer.
How can you get involved?
Find out how to email your elected representatives about coronavirus or explore other ways to help by using our campaigning toolkit.