A photo of Carol looking away from the camera and smiling

"Look out for the symptoms, if not for you, for them"

Caitlin's sharing her mum's story to raise awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms in the hope that others may recognise them in themselves or others.

Just weeks ago, we revealed that only 6% of women in Scotland can very confidently name the symptoms of ovarian cancer, and 45% wrongly believe that cervical screening detects the disease.¹

Since then, the family of 43 year old Carol Watson, from Lanarkshire in Scotland, who died in October 2022, have spoken out about how they believe knowing the symptoms could’ve given her a better chance of survival.

Carol’s 21 year old daughter Caitlin alongside her dad George and sister Kacey, is determined to tell her mum’s story to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer. 

Poster showing the symptoms of ovarian cancer - bloated tummy, needing to wee more, tummy pain, and always feeling full

Caitlin said:

I don’t think any of us knew the symptoms of ovarian cancer, including mum. If we’d known the symptoms, and that ovarian cancer isn’t diagnosed through the cervical smear test, then maybe we would’ve had mum for longer than five years after she was diagnosed.

A family photo of Caitlin, Kacey, George and Carol McKean all dressed up smartly for an event

Caitlin continued:

I want to do all I can to prevent others from feeling the same pain I’ve felt. I want to share mum’s story to raise more awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms in the hope that others may recognise them in themselves or others. Knowing the symptoms could hopefully give someone a higher chance of survival as maybe the disease could be caught sooner.

Around 600² women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Scotland each year and survival rates in Scotland are among the worst in Europe³. We’re calling for national symptoms awareness campaigns to help everyone spot the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

If you live in Scotland, sign our call to action now to help end the ovarian cancer awareness crisis. Demand the Scottish government take urgent action and fund a national awareness campaign for ovarian cancer.

Sign our call to action

A photo of Caitlin and her mum Carol at Caitlin's graduation

In a final piece of advice, Caitlin added:

Look out for the symptoms, if not for you, for them. Don’t be scared. There’s no point in living your life in fear – just be like Carol and live every day with a smile on your face.


¹ Target Ovarian Cancer (2023) Pathfinder Scotland: Faster, further, and fairer

² Public Health Scotland (2021), Cancer incidence in Scotland Cancer incidence and prevalence in Scotland to December 2019. Available at: www.publichealthscotland.scot/publications/cancer-incidence-in-scotland/cancer-incidence-in-scotland-cancer-incidence-and-prevalence-in-scotland-to-december-2019/cancer-incidence-dashboard/ 

³ Public Health Scotland (2021), Cancer mortality 2019. Available at: https://www.publichealthscotland.scot/publications/cancer-mortality/cancer-mortality-in-scotland-2019/data-files/#Genital%20organs